Services innovation in the UK, and why solutions for future economic growth are needed now

A conference aimed at driving awareness of the need for action by decision makers across government, industry, business and higher education is being held in London on 1 July, with speakers from blue-chip firms and universities including Cambridge, Exeter, Manchester and Westminster.

Global growth in service-based economies means that nearly 70% of UK exports lie in knowledge-based services, whilst almost 50% of the UK workforce is based in consumer and business services. It’s no surprise then that the UK is the largest single procurer of services in Europe.

Building on the recent paper ‘Succeeding through Service Information’ by Cambridge University, the Service Science Management and Engineering Network (SSMEnetUK) – a network of business experts and university researchers – is identifying challenges to the growth of service-oriented business models with major implications for economic growth across the UK public and private sectors.

The SSME network is identifying knowledge gaps, policy implications and infrastructure development needs for private and public sector service providers.  Major companies including HP and IBM are members of the SSMEnetUK grouping. ”We are at an incredible tipping point for the world economy and it's all around innovation” says Nick Donofrio, IBM’s Vice President for Innovation and Technology. 

Service science is set to help increase productivity and innovation across the private and public sectors by applying scientific methods to service and business problems. This conference will help senior decision makers across education, industry and government to understand the need to develop the breadth of skills and inter-disciplinary knowledge required to deliver innovation in services.

A number of universities across the UK are already responding to the SSME agenda by introducing innovative degree courses and identifying the appropriate type and breadth of graduate skills. All interested universities are warmly invited to join the conference and network to learn more about services innovation and graduate skills challenges.

Date: 23 June 2006

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