Services Innovation Laboratory

Manager: Craig Saunders

The Services Innovation Laboratory, created in 2009 aims at innovating in Xerox current services and nurturing new ones. The lab is addressing some of the key research challenges raised by services and service delivery systems. It is currently leading the development of a services research platform which will be used by all the R&D centres to evaluate, develop and deliver building blocks, concepts and prototypes for future information services. The lab also has an active role of collaborating with other services innovation networks capable of nurturing our research.

Services innovation has received a lot of attention in recent years, as organizations began to realize that their research, development and innovation processes did not necessarily take into account some of the key aspects of services and services provision. Examples are the overlap in consumption and production of services; the increasing role of online platforms for services delivery; the central role of people, skills and knowledge in adding value to the otherwise immaterial object of the transaction; the trends towards self-provision and (mass) customization; etc. Moreover, the classical distinction between products and services is fading, as product value is enriched through service agreements and as services are productized for the benefit of economies of scale.

The lab will initially focus on some key challenges given by the transition to online information services, the implications of co-production in services systems and advanced architectures for improving services efficiencies and scalability. Example projects that populate this agenda are:

  • The Machine Learning for Services team investigates methods to optimise service processes which are stochastic in both demand and (possibly adversarial) dynamics. Those methods rely on the development and application of new machine learning and mechanism design techniques, to leverage the large mass of data often available from both the service context and usage.
  • The Work Practice Technology has a research line to understand the nature of remote services and how to make the relationship with the client or the citizen more fluent and satisfactory while making the provision process more efficient. This area of study has been started by looking at the nature of technical support and is now expanding to other domains like e-governance and creative design.
  • The Enterprise Architecture research addresses various aspects of service innovation in the area of XML document understanding, from model-driven methodologies in support of conversion and annotation services, to business process modelling and domain specific languages for agile businesses.