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Services Futures – Directions and Features, Challenges and Opportunities

Special issue call for papers from Foresight

Guest edited by: Krzysztof Borodako, Deborah Cox, and Lawrence Green


In the last three decades we have witnessed the recognition of service activities as a critical and dynamic component in knowledge-based and developed economies. Service activities have become of interest in their own right, with increased acknowledgement of the importance of service trade and increased attention to service employment and service innovation. Efforts to develop a ‘service science’ have been inspired by the activity of IT (and other) firms that find themselves transitioning from manufacturing to service provision, and ‘service design’ has become embedded as a new and growing discipline within the creative sector. The increasingly complex intertwining of goods and services is reflected in discussions of ‘product-service systems’ and the notion of ‘service-dominant logic’ has become a rallying call for marketers and managers. Taking just one further example, the crystallisation of ideas around the ‘experience economy’ directs our attention to the shifting nature, content and delivery of many consumer services, and to morphing patterns of consumption and purchase preferences in contemporary markets.

Foresight studies were well ahead of the game in drawing attention to what scholars have described as the ‘service economy’ and ‘post-industrial society’. Much mainstream technology foresight, however, still fails to reflect the importance of service and services. Though some research has been service-oriented in part, there are problems in engaging with service sector practitioners and innovators, especially where the latter are not embraced in the same networks as their high-tech manufacturing counterparts. Major questions still surround the future role of services in social and economic life. For example, how far are services becoming industrialised and manufacturing industries service-oriented? What emerging forms of business and public sector service activity are evident and what issues of public-private partnership and third sector involvement arise here? What are the prospects for service innovation in a world of ‘open’, user-oriented, and user-driven innovation? Can service and social innovation address the global and more local challenges that confront societies and communities and if so, how? What role might foresight play in shaping the development of services into the future?

For this Special Issue of foresight on the theme ‘Services Futures – directions and features, challenges and opportunities’ we invite papers that address and illuminate such questions. We especially welcome submissions that draw upon practice and concrete experience. It is important now that we learn from evidence rather than merely repeating slogans or re-treading tested theories. The main idea of the special issue is to consider how innovations can be generated and implemented in particular service activities and sectors and what strategies policymakers, managers and others should adopt to support the innovations that might offer valuable opportunities and solutions.  We invite researchers to share their analysis and insight with respect to the future of services, not least, those from emerging and developing economies, where significant advances are evident in the practice of service innovation.

The special issue will provide a platform for contributions from various sectors and professions including academic research, design, innovation management and policy support. Our aim is to appeal to a wide base of researchers and practitioners, reflecting the importance of improving understanding of the issues posed by services across the spectrum of social and economic activities. We welcome submissions that are grounded in solid experience and analysis, and those of a critical, reflective, and agenda-setting nature. Papers may draw on existing foresight studies, or on alternative forms of futures research.

Future trends projects and future-oriented research in service sectors require and deserve improved dissemination effort, not least, to give a new impulse for all stakeholders to consider alternative futures for all kinds of services. This Special Issue of foresight aims to provide a channel for such dissemination and for the exposure of cutting-edge evidence and ideas to the widest possible audience.

Information for authors

The Special issue will include a set of research and conceptual papers. A pre-application process will precede full submission.

Possible topics for essays and papers include (but are not limited to):

- Future trends in innovation in service sectors and activities
- Service innovation and service design strategy
- Trends, policies, initiatives and supports with respect to service innovation
- Service science, service-dominant logic, and other promising approaches
- Relations between technological, organizational and social innovation in services
- Skills, employment and professions in services
- High interest/profile services (for example, public services, creative services, experience services, services in support of sustainability and other social goals)
- Changing boundaries: public-private services, servitisation and productisation, outsourcing and offshoring.

Important dates

Submission of Abstracts: 6th May 2013
Notification of successful authors: 27th May 2013
Final date for submission of manuscripts: 16th August 2013
Review, comments & notifications to authors: 20th September 2013
Final papers due: 18th October 2013

Instructions for submissions

Abstract submission: Foresight Journal Special Issue on Services

Guidance on preparation of abstracts is available at:

Abstract: Not more than 400 words please
Topic/Keywords. Select keywords carefully, making sure that they match the theme of the Journal issue

Title: Title of proposed paper
Author(s): Full names, titles, and primary institutional affiliation (if any) of all
authors. Lead author first in bold.
Address: Contact details for lead author
Country: Lead author’s first in bold
Telephone: Include country code
Fax: Include country code
Mobile: Include country code
E-mail: Include alternate e-mail if necessary

Abstract Submissions to

Guest Editors:

Dr. Krzysztof Borodako ([email protected])
Deborah Cox ([email protected])
Dr. Lawrence Green ([email protected])