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Services innovation: assimilation, differentiation, inversion and integration

Gallouj, Faïz (2002): Services innovation: assimilation, differentiation, inversion and integration. Published in:

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Abstract

This chapter aims to provide a review of the literature on innovation in services and to focus on the analytical strategies carried out in order to fill in the innovation gap in the service economy (i.e. the difference between what the traditional innovation indicators are capable of capturing, and the reality of innovation activities undertaken in a given economy). Four analytical perspectives are distinguished in this chapter, which are labeled: assimilation, differentiation, inversion and integration. The assimilation perspective analyses innovation in services just as innovation in manufacturing, focusing on their relationships with technological systems. The differentiation (or demarcation) perspective focuses on services specificities and aims to capture innovation activity where the traditional (technologist or assimilation) gaze perceives nothing. The inversion perspective reflects the “revenge” of the service sector : it emphasizes the active role of KIBS in other sectors innovations. The integrative or synthetic perspective provides more a balanced view of innovation in services. It seeks to provide the same analytical frameworks for both goods and services, and for both technological and non-technological forms of innovation.

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