Reframing service innovation: COVID-19 as a catalyst for imposed service innovation

Kristina Heinonen*, Tore Strandvik

*Motsvarande författare för detta arbete

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85 Citeringar (Scopus)


Purpose: The empirical study draws on a crowdsourced database of 221 innovations associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach: Aside from the health and humanitarian crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an acute economic downturn in most sectors, forcing public and private organizations to rethink and reconfigure service provision. The paper introduces the concept of imposed service innovation as a new strategic lens to augment the extant view of service innovation as a primarily discretionary activity. Findings: The identified imposed service innovations were assigned to 11 categories and examined in terms of their strategic horizon and strategic stretch. The innovations are characterized by spatial flexibility, social and health outreach and exploitation of technology. Research limitations/implications: As a new area of service innovation research, imposed service innovations highlight strategic issues that include the primacy of customers and the fragility of institutions. Practical implications: Situations involving imposed service innovation represent opportunities for rapid business development when recognized as such. A severe disruption such as a pandemic can catalyze managerial rethinking as organizations are forced to look beyond their existing business strategies. Social implications: As a strategic response to severe disruption of institutions, markets and service offerings, imposed service innovations afford opportunities to implement transformation and enhance well-being. This novel strategic lens foregrounds a societal account of service innovation, emphasizing societal relevance and context beyond the challenges of business viability alone. Originality/value: While extant service innovation research has commonly focused on discretionary activities that enable differentiation and growth, imposed service innovations represent actions for resilience and renewal.

Referentgranskad vetenskaplig tidskriftJournal of Service Management
Sidor (från-till)101-112
Antal sidor12
StatusPublicerad - 15.09.2020
MoE-publikationstypA1 Originalartikel i en vetenskaplig tidskrift


  • 512 Företagsekonomi
  • Marketing Logics and Strategizing
  • Customers and Relations
  • Business, Markets and Societal Dynamics

Styrkeområden och områden med hög potential (AoS och AoHP)

  • AoS: Konkurrensanalys och servicestrategi - Service och kundorienterad ledning


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