The rapid digital transformation of businesses and society creates new challenges and opportunities for Service Science. With a focus on ‘Digital Service Systems’ the Karlsruhe Service Research Institute (KSRI) at KIT is a globally leading service research institute and a service innovation hub.

Digitalization and services cross-fertilize each other: In concrete terms, this means that the availability and exponential growth of digital technologies will further accelerate the servitization of businesses and society. Today, it is well recognized that digital transformation will massi­vely impact the way we live and work in the future. KSRI has recognized this ma­jor trend right on time – since April 2008 it fosters interdisciplinary service research with a strong focus on digitalization and ensures as well excellent teaching and innovation in this field.


With the release of an interdisciplinary Service Science Textbook in 2015 and a new teaching struc­ture, KSRI’s unique and successful approach of teaching is advancing quickly. Only a few months after its release, the textbook ‘Fundamentals of Service Systems’ is well received and in use for lectures at international level. Teaching at KSRI has evolved from service-oriented lectures for master students to a comprehensive teaching portfolio for bachelor and master students specializing in digital service systems. Apart from traditional lectures KSRI is involved in the internationally-renowned SUGAR network initiated by Stanford University. Together with our academic partners from St. Gallen University, Aalto University, Trinity College and others, students are developing ideas, prototypes and apps utilizing the design thinking method in close collaboration with industrial partners.


In pursuit of new research fields, KSRI has evolved to a research hub with seven research groups from different academic disciplines. Gerhard Satzger is a founding member with a dual role at KIT and within IBM leads the research group Digital Service Innovation at KSRI. Christof Weinhardt’s group Information & Market Engineering is contributing to service research from the beginning of KSRI, as well. Further research groups are Stefan Nickel’s Discrete Optimization and Logistics and Wolf Fichtner’s Energy Economics. Recently York Sure-Vetter joined Rudi Studer and the Knowledge Management and Web Science research group as one of KSRI’s directors. Another addition to the board of directors, Alexander Mädche, joined KSRI forming the new research group Information Systems & Service Design. Kai Furmans and Markus Bauer now head the group Value Stream Services that is run jointly by KSRI and Bosch. With the variety of research groups and fields rising, KSRI adopted its new re­search strategy with six interdisciplinary strategic initiatives focusing on Smart Services & IoT, Participation and Crowd Services, (e)Mobility Services, Healthcare Services, Digital Supply Chain and Digital Business Models and Processes.


Founded in 2008 as a public-private-partnership between Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and IBM, this partnership was extended, by taking up Bosch in 2013. The institute’s status is manifested by the continuous addition of new projects funded publicly and privately as well as interdisciplinary research. Current joint research projects examine i.e. tools for business models based on big data, predictive analytics for industrial services or multimodal services as an accelerator for electric mobility. Junior scientists, PhD candidates as well as master and bachelor students are involved in research projects with a strong focus on applications for digital service systems. With the setup of a service-focused graduate school at KIT – the Karlsruhe School of Services (KSOS) – this credo is further expanded by interdisciplinary research in close cooperation with associated industrial partners.

Efforts in research, teaching and innovation at KSRI are highlighted by recurring events where prac­titioners, researchers and students interact. Upcoming are two events on “Designing the Digital Transformation” with the 12th International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology (DESRIST) from May 30th to June 1st, 2017 as well as the sixth Karlsruhe Service Summit on June 2nd, 2017. International participants from industry and academia will be attending a diverse program focusing on Service Digitalization. The third KSS Research Workshop aiming at junior researchers takes place in September this year.

Further information:

Upcoming events: