Welcome to the Making SD-Logic Approachable Journey

Harnessing service-dominant logic in our innovation thinking opens up numerous opportunities. It frees us from counterproductive goods vs service thinking, opens up a more actionable definition of value and therefore innovation.

And is a powerful way to understand the way the world works, making us see collaboration and building relations as key. Suddenly jobs-to-be-done, blue ocean, experiences, agile etc all hang together and make sense.

However. The definitions of service-dominant logic can be unapproachable. Which leads to it being more of an academic study rather than practical real-world application it deserves to be.

In this journey we’ll look at demystifying the definitions.

First, we’ll re-order and group the foundational premises into the who, how and whats. And then look at each of those premises in turn.

A service-dominant logic approach requires us to stop seeing a goods vs service world where service is a poor relative to goods. And instead, embrace a service-first world where goods help us transport a service.

At first glance, this might seem that we are challenging the over 300-year old goods-dominant view of our world. But it is an evolution in thinking, acting and behaving rather than a revolution. One that requires us to stop seeing a goods vs service world and instead embrace a service-first world where goods help us transport a service.

However, they are unlikely to light up the management world. Or get the attention they need. Given the often confusing words choices, like phenomenological, or using words that have a different meaning than usual, as in the case of institutional.

Let's make service-dominant logic more approachable by doing two things:

  • Group premises together into the clear "what", "who" and "how"
  • Explore what the definitions really mean

Reading time <12 mins

We can view how the world works in two ways. Traditionally, we see a world where we exchange outputs: called goods-dominant logic. Alternately, we could see a world where we exchange how those outputs are created.

By viewing the world through service-dominant logic lens, we remove the absolute focus of goods-dominant logic’s point of exchange. Instead service is seen as the fundamental basis of exchange.

This has many impacts. Not least it encourages us to be more relational, understand value creation differently, and see additional opportunities (reduce marketing myopia, harness circular economy etc).

And that drives opportunities for innovation and growth

Though it can be challenging to switch our lens, given the predominance of goods-dominant logic we observe and are taught daily.

Reading time <12 mins

As service is the basis of exchange, then all economies are service economies. But how do we account for the classic view of their being agricultural, goods and service economies?

We look at the skills and resources that society saw as the most beneficial to apply and improve. These turn out to be the skill and resources of: cultivation, mass production, management, and resource integration.

And the "shift to the service economy", often talked about today, is society beginning to see the skills of resource integration as most beneficial.

Reading time <10 mins

In a simplistic world, we exchange services directly. I do something for you as you do something for me. But our world is messier than that and this exchange may be hidden. For example it could be deferred, unequal, or not even a direct exchange at all.

We can think of "service credits" as a useful concept to bridge the "gaps" above.

However, and this is important, it still remains the case that these seemingly partial exchanges fulfilled all the foundational premises of service-dominant logic.

So we can say service is the fundamental basis of exchange, though indirect exchange sometimes masks this.

Reading time <5 mins

We know that value, in service-dominant logic, is both co-created and uniquely determined by the beneficiary.

It then naturally follows that a service-centred view is:

  1. inherently beneficiary oriented
  2. inherently relational

It is not possible to be any other way

Reading time <3 mins

Perhaps better put as "All service systems, including the beneficiary" are resource integrators.

This premise highlights how every actor involved integrates resources and that there is a network of actors

Originally it hinted at why firms are formed - to integrate micro-specialisms into a more complex service. But it was quickly recognised that not just firms did this, so did individuals, households, social organisations and so on.

Hence, all economic and social actors are resource integrators.

Reading time <6 mins

"Our people are our key advantage" - a phase we hear often.

With service-dominant logic we get an insight into why. And it starts with seeing that service is the application of skills and competence. And they are applied by people - a form of operant resource - resources that act on other resources to lead to value (co-)creation

But we can also see processes as operant resources (as they codify beneficial skills and competencies).

And it turns out, there is a useful hierarchy of operant resources.

Reading time <8 mins

The role of goods (both tangible products and intangible ones such as digital goods -eBooks, mp3s etc) needs to be seen differently different in our service-only world

No longer do we see a goods vs service divide; with the view that services are poor relatives.

Rather, we see goods enabling us to move service in time and space.

And this might seem strange, but let's consider that service can be frozen and unfrozen, and now we will see this begins to make sense

Reading time <10 mins