Jaana Auramo and Minna Suutari: Service business presses on

Nowadays it is rare to hear the claim that it would not be possible to create growth or promote employment and welfare through services. Services are an important part of companies' activities, and top level expertise, tools and people are available for it both in companies and in research.

The Serve programme, which was started by Tekes seven years ago, was concluded in mid-October at the "Luova bisnes" (creative business) seminar. At the seminar, four statements were formulated to promote the development of innovative service solutions as well as their commercialisation.

Statement 1: Customer-oriented and solution-focused approaches create a competitive edge

In the Serve programme, companies have been encouraged to develop value-adding services and solutions that can help and challenge the companies or even whole fields to be renewed. New methods for understanding the customer's needs as well as for co-operating with the customer have been developed to support this cause.

Statement 2: Interaction with customers concerns the whole organisation

Experiences gained through Serve have shown that radical renewal cannot be achieved with one-sided solutions. A pioneer must observe, challenge and change methods in a comprehensive manner, taking into account customers, partners as well as the organisation itself.

Statement 3: An experimental culture can offer valuable references

Services are developed in interaction with customers and users, and quick experiments fit this scenario like a glove. This way it is also possible to gain references quickly.

Statement 4: Colliding researchers and businessmen can help create new methods

What is required is an interface of knowledge and practice. Co-operation and crowdsourcing are at the centre of contemporary business jargon. They are important methods of developing services.

The Serve programme concludes at the end of this year, as it must. All programmes have their end. It does make us feel a bit sad, but do not despair. Serve has such a strong legacy that service business will press on to new paths even after the programme ends. We will continue focusing on services – and innovative service concepts will still be funded in the future.

Jaana Auramo & Minna Suutari

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