A brief history of service innovation: The evolution of past, present, and future service innovation

Nasrin Mahavarpour , Reza Marvi*, Pantea Foroudi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Service innovation emerged more than a decade ago and is considered as the main source of competitive advantage between the market and firms. Due to the growing attention to service innovation in recent years, this study investigates the phenomenon of service innovation in greater depth to understand how service innovation has emerged, evolved, and how it will potentially advance. Considering a systematic investigation, the foundational research areas and historical development of service innovation are explored by conducting a comprehensive performance analysis (qualitative and quantitative) employing 255 articles published in two periods between 1970 and 2021. The results revealed four distinguishable clusters with each showing different characteristics of the service innovation domain including: resource focus, process focus, solution focus, and actors’ focus. In particular, we analyse which research streams are related to service innovation and compare these themes over time. The findings show that the major themes in the first period (1992–2014) included innovation, customer, service, and product, while the second period (2014–2021) encompassed service, customer, value, and information as the main themes. This paper supports the assertion that service innovation has an interdisciplinary theoretical foundation and that the structure of the foundation of service innovation research changed significantly over time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113795
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date7 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)


  • (Co)citation
  • Leximancer
  • Service innovation
  • Text mining


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