Special issue of California Management Review.

Technology-Enabled Service Innovation for Tomorrow’s Society.

Guest Editors: von Wangenheim F., von Krogh G., Nißen M., & Tinguely P.

Deadline: 1 September 2022
Extended to 28 February 2023

Organizations are increasingly adopting digital technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), or Big Data Analytics, in the creation of novel services. At the same time, the world is facing grand societal challenges, such as demographic shifts, climate change, social, economic, and political insecurity, and inequality, which take a heavy toll on societies’ health, inclusion, and freedom. Inevitably, service innovation is poised to leverage the potential of digital technologies to offer customized, adaptive, real-time, and mobile services while addressing the most pressing societal challenges of tomorrow (Miles, 2016; Neely, 2014).
This special issue seeks to address two broad themes:
– How digital technologies drive service innovation that meet customers’ changing needs and address societal challenges
– How organizations innovate services with digital technologies while protecting the freedom, security, and fairness of individuals

Given the rapid emergence of digital technologies and pressing societal needs, advancing understanding on such themes is not a day too soon. Embracing opportunities offered by digital technologies has already become imperative to unlock innovation in knowledge-intensive industries, such as healthcare, professional services, or education. On the one hand, digital technologies such as AI, ML, or augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) offer a large potential to radically innovate new services (Moller et al., 2008; Neely, 2014). On the other hand, technology-enabled services heighten concerns about individual privacy, social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, we still lack an extensive understanding of how organizations may bring digital technologies to bear in service innovation in order to offer customer-friendly services that address societal challenges.
Please consider three examples of how technology-enabled service innovations raise both opportunities and challenges:
– Recently, there is a growing development of new healthcare services enabled by scalable digital technologies such as digital coaches, sensors, remote monitoring, and self-tracking devices. Such technology enables cost-saving in diagnostics, treatment of chronic diseases, individualized patient support, and other areas (Mitchell & Kan, 2019; Cancela et al., 2021). Yet, the healthcare context is arguably unique in at least two respects (Anderson & Agarwal, 2011): (1) the highly personal, sensitive, emotional aspects of human health (2) the interpersonal nature of many therapeutical approaches. Service innovation challenges in healthcare are therefore often “wicked,” complex, and ambiguous and may require entirely novel problem-solving approaches (Ooms & Piepenbrink, 2020).
– In the professional services industry, digital technologies coupled with process improvements can bring service simplicity and improve client experience. Large datasets and mobile internet enable services to be effectively tailored to each client and at low cost (D’Emidio, Dorton, & Duncan, 2015). The close participation of clients in service innovation ensures acceptance and wide diffusion of novel services (Villani et al., 2021), which likely shape the way organizations manage and share client data. However, professional services firms’ management of client data also raises concerns regarding intellectual property, privacy, and data security throughout the whole industry.
– In education, digital technologies unlock the potential to improve rights to information, education, and freedom of expression. Today, AI combined with cloud computing, big data, and mobile connectivity, disrupt how individuals access and use information (Shnurenko, Murovana, & Kushchu, 2020). While digital technologies may empower individuals, allow for new ways of learning, and potentially foster social inclusion and fairness, they also raise challenging issues for education. For instance, connectivity and complexity can lead to polarization between those who can and cannot access said educational services and is thus detrimental to equity, inclusion, and fairness.


The aim of the Special Issue “Technology-Enabled Service Innovation for Tomorrow’s Society” is (1) to advance scholarly understanding and practice of innovating technologyenabled services that address pressing societal challenges and (2) to highlight and draw lessons from specific types of innovative services. We encourage submissions that deal with technology-enabled service innovation that improves the customer experience in knowledgeintensive industries such as healthcare-, education-, technology-, or the professional services industry. We welcome discussions about how such novel services shape firms’ contributions to addressing societal challenges.

Types of papers and issues

Our call is open to any type of paper (conceptual as well as empirical work that features quantitative or qualitative methods). We seek papers that address a range of questions such as, but not limited to:

1. Understanding how digital technologies shape service innovation – societal perspective
– How can technology-enabled service innovation meet changing customers’ needs and help solve societal challenges, such as demographic shifts, climate change, or growing insecurity?
– What are novel approaches to innovate services in knowledge-intensive industries such as healthcare, education, and professional services?
– How do digital technologies help deliver new services to individuals, both privileged and marginalized?
– Which novel digital technologies (e.g., automation/robotics, AI, IoT, voice activation, virtual/augmented reality) are creating challenges and opportunities to solve societal challenges through service innovation?
– How do service innovations that help solve societal challenges alter overall industry dynamics?
– How to safeguard a dynamic and productive interaction between technology and human services providers in service innovation related to societal challenges?
– Is there a risk for technology-enabled services to strengthen societal challenges?
– What are best-case examples of service innovation that promote societal welfare and individuals’ wellbeing?

2. Managing technology-enabled service innovation – organizational perspective
– Which factors foster organization-client interactions in new technology-enabled service models that are conducive to solving societal challenges?
– How can organizations effectively integrate emerging digital technologies into service innovations?
– How are digital technologies transforming existing service innovation models and how do they shape organizations’ ability to solve societal challenges?
– What is the responsibility of academia, science, and industry in creating sustainable and society-relevant service innovation?
– How should organizations integrate technology-enabled service innovation strategies globally?
– How can organizations account for ethical issues when developing technologyenabled service innovation?

Review Process & Timelines

Please read the submission process carefully. The initial full papers must be submitted no later than September 1st, 2022. Please submit to the attention of Marcia Nißen (serviceinnovation@ethz.ch) according to the following guidelines:

The draft must run between five and eight thousand words, double-spaced, font-size 12 (read CMR full submission guidelines here). In your email please clearly state (i) the author(s)’ details; (ii) purpose of your study; (iii) the research question(s) being addressed; (iv) how your piece addresses the core concepts of the special issue; (v) the relevance of your study for practitioners, scholars, and CMR readership; and (vi) what impact you hope to make with your paper.

In this initial round, the Guest Editors will select papers (approximately 12) that are most likely to result in a first-rate, high-impact submission. The guest editors will then provide a first level of review to help these authors revise and strengthen their papers for official submission. The authors of these selected manuscripts will receive an official invitation to submit their paper through the CMR online portal no later than December 1st, 2022.

Papers submitted via the online portal without having received an invitation will not be considered for publication. Invited papers will be reviewed by multiple anonymous reviewers who (along with the guest editors) will determine their publication fate. The California Management Review editorial team reserves the right to make all final editorial decisions for submitted papers.

Full information available here.