Here’s a radical idea for consideration by service innovation professionals: any business or other organization can be legitimately and entirely viewed as a web of services. In fact each of these organizations can be seen as a living system, with a birth to death lifecycle, and with various levels of health along the way. The radical idea is that all organizations exist as living webs of services.
From the perspective of a living web of services, all organizations can be defined by the co-creation of value through the services they deliver, as well as being structured by internal webs of services. We can articulate those webs of internal and external services as structures of service-roles, role-players, and networks of roles.
These ideas are explored more completely in the book All Services, All the Time: How Business Services Serve Your Business. This book explores the hopes and dreams of business founders, owners, and leaders, and the reasons why it can be so difficult to realize and sustain those hopes and dreams. Part of this is related to the sheer complexity of business, and all the moving parts that must operate together. This is amplified by the challenge of leading an entity that takes on a life and a mind of its own in a very real way.
Keeping in mind the perspective of a living web of services, there are three basic forms that services assume:
- Services performed by a business for co-creation of value with external stakeholders
- Services performed within a business, forming the internal structure
- Services that are engaged from external sources to promote the health of a business
Since this is about living systems, it’s easy to recognize the value of performing diagnosis on healthy and unhealthy organizations. The book presents a coaching approach, and reviews the functionality that’s simply required to remain in business, contrasting that with the need to maintain a certain level of stability. It covers a sampling of tried and true business frameworks as diagnostic tools and then updates those frameworks with more recent perspectives. It uncovers the complexity of many business cultures and many languages of business, as a way of providing insight into business health.
Finally, it explores the currently not-well-organized marketplace of health-promoting business-to-business services.
This book is a call to action for a new renaissance in services innovation in the marketplace of organizational health. Step up, services innovators!