7th International Conference on Business Servitization (ICBS 2018)
22-23 November 2018, Lisbon, Portugal

Focal theme: Make, buy or partner: Paradoxes in product service innovation

A growing number of manufacturers have been adding services into their product offers as a way of enhancing value through innovative integrated product-service systems. However, the ability to servitize and introduce value-adding services into their operations is highly complex and technologically demanding. Therefore, though some manufacturers are able to servitize through internal development, an increasing number of manufacturing firms are having to outsource the servitization to Knowledge Intensive Business Service (KIBS) firms. The reason for this seems to be due to the fact that the integration of services in-house carries considerable risks and requires contradictory capabilities, such as maintaining traditional product-identity while developing a new integrated solutions identity. The need for external development is further amplified by the complexity involved in the servitization process and by frequent technological disruptions faced by manufacturers operating in high R&D-intensity industries. As a result, manufacturing firms are increasingly having to resort to outsourcing and strategic alliances with KIBS firms. As put by Fumio Sato, Toshiba's former CEO:
“It is no longer an era in which a single company can dominate any technology or business by itself. The technology has become so advanced, and the markets so complex, that you simply can’t expect to be the best at the whole process any longer”

It is commonly acknowledged that strategic alliances are popular means for accelerating growth in terms of market development, cost sharing and reduction, knowledge and brand acquisition, quality enhancement, and even product innovation. However, despite some recent efforts, very little is understood about the role of strategic alliances and other types of collaborative methods of development on servitization. Scant evidence from recent studies show that knowledge intensive business service (KIBS) firms are both sources and carriers of knowledge, and are capable of injecting advanced services —i.e., servitization— across new and incumbent manufacturing businesses. Some papers presented in last year's conference shed some light on how collaboration between product and service firms located in the same space enhanced territorial servitization and was conducive to the renaissance of local manufacturing sectors, including traditional manufacturing sectors.

This edition of the International Conference on Business Servitization (ICBS) aims at studying what drivers, processes and actors play a crucial role in enabling and promoting collaborative technological upgrading and product-service innovation. Since servitization and the benefits of knowledge-intensive service provision do not necessarily have to be fully integrated within the manufacturer’s internal value chain, this year's conference aims to enhance our understanding on how  the various forms of collaboration like strategic outsourcing, strategic alliances, joint ventures and other types of partnerships not only facilitate the upgrading of existing manufacturing competences, but also offer an opportunity to develop and anchor new technological capabilities across partnering firms, ultimately facilitating growth and long-term competitiveness.

ICBS is a conference traditionally targeted to business professionals, policy makers and researchers. While the focus of this year’s conference will be the make, buy or partnering decision, as in previous editions the organizers also welcome works related to other relevant issues implicitly or explicitly linked with servitization such as business engineering, strategy, business models, international business, operations management and supply chain management. The conference will inherit the current research of international academic community on the emerging field of servitization, which focuses both on theoretical developments and on practical applications of the methods and techniques. Through this conference, participants will share the latest research findings and practical experiences and exchange their innovative ideas. 


Special sessions on specific topics are also encouraged. Topics of interest mainly include, but not limit to:
  • Business models and strategy 
    • Partnerships, strategic alliances, outsourcing, joint-ventures, M&As and servitization 
    • Advanced business services and collaborative practices in business model innovation 
    • The internationalization of product-service offering 
    • Resilience, agility and other firm capabilities 
  • Territorial Servitization 
    • Economic assessment of the impact of collaborative product-service innovation on firm and territorial competitiveness 
    • What are the antecedents, moderators/mediators, and outcomes of knowledge intensive service-manufacturing collaborations on organizational resilience and performance? 
    • Conceptualization and provision of evidence on collaborative approaches to cluster and industrial district policies formed by multi-sector, including manufacturing and service, firms. 
    • Do KIBS firms offer opportunities for local manufacturing SMEs to outsource service provision? And for multinationals to reshoring their production to the home country? 
  • Supply chain management and marketing 
    • Servitization and collaborative supply chain management 
    • Internet of things and linking channels 
    • Product-service innovation processes and organizational performance indicators 
    • Servitization and Customer Relationship Management and customer value perception 
  • Business engineering 
    • Industry 4.0 
    • Internet of things 
    • Service system and Service network design 
    • Tools and toolkits for engineering servitization processes
    • Big data and machine learning 

    Meeting venue

    The meeting venue is arranged in Lisbon, Portugal. At least one of authors must register and participate in the meeting once a paper is accepted. For more information concerning the meeting venue, please visit website: http://www.servitization.org/

    Important dates

    • Deadline for introducing extended abstracts (max 1000 words): June 30, 2018 July 31, 2018
    • Notification of acceptance: August 02, 2018
    • Date of conference: 22-23 November 2018

    Paper submission guidelines

    Manuscripts must be submitted electronically through the OmniaScience Link: (http://www.omniascience.com/conferences/).

    Extended abstracts MUST adhere to the guidelines outlined in the ‘Extended Abstract Template’ provided via the below link. Extended abstracts can be submitted ONLY in English. All academic presentations MUST be given in English.

    Download Extended Abstract Template

    Contact for abstract submission

    PhD. Marco Opazo, Deusto University
    Email: marco.opazo@deusto.es