This paper aims at understanding the role of clients in the innovation of Creativity-Intensive Business Services (CIBS), namely advertising services, to provide useful managerial indications for the proactive management of the collaboration with clients for the purpose of innovation. We adopt a multi-stage approach. Firstly, we propose a conceptual multidimensional framework by combining three streams of research: a) research on customer involvement in New Service Development; b) service innovation studies with specific regard to CIBS; c) literature on business relationships marketing. Secondly, we refine such framework through an exploratory qualitative analysis based on a case study of a successful advertising agency. Thirdly, we undertake a large-scale survey of European advertising agencies. Our preliminary findings provide empirical evidence to the hidden and multidimensional nature of CIBS’innovation, and contribute to advance the understanding of the concept of “soft innovation” in creative services. Results also suggest that efforts to improve the interaction and collaborative work practices with clients are conducive to changes in other technological as well as non-technological dimensions. Moreover, the empirical analysis provides indications on additional innovation enabling characteristics of clients and on their potential roles as catalyst and co-developer of innovation.
15 Jun 2014
21st IPDM Conference “Innovation through Engineering, Business and Design”, Limerick, Ireland