Science, technology and innovation policy

Innovation in services: the role of R&D and R&D policies (INNOSERV)


Services play a growing role in economic activity, accounting for around 70% of GDP in OECD countries. It is also widely acknowledged that the service sector can be highly innovative and that service innovation – which occurs throughout the economy – is a key source of growth for firms, sectors and nations in the context of intensified global competition and the economic crisis. Even though service innovation plays an increasing role, mainstream policies which affect these activities have been developed from a mainly technological or manufacturing perspective, which tends to neglect the specificities of this type of innovation. Likewise, the underlying policy rationale is often based on indicators which are still biased towards R&D, technological innovation and manufacturing. With limited quantitative evidence on service innovation, existing R&D and innovation policy has paid little attention to this type of innovation. The formulation and implementation of policies aimed at promoting service innovation face significant challenges as obstacles are difficult to identify and a broader evidence base is needed to inform discussions on how to design new (or improve existing) policy instruments.


The INNOSERV project provided new evidence on recent service innovation trends and contributed to improving the measurements of service-based innovation activity across sectors, i.e. within the service sector itself as well as through the “servitisation” of industry. The results can be used to better understand the role of public policies in promoting such activities. A series of expert meetings reported progress and discussed initial results from the various strands of work which related to:

  • Analysing current trends in service innovation policy;
  • Developing quantitative evidence on the extent and forms of service-based R&D and innovation activities; and
  • Company case studies on service innovation and the role of R&D and innovation policies.


Download the INNOSERV project information flyer.




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