Professor Baines, what is the World Servitization Convention?
The World Servitization Convention (WSC) is a new conference we are hosting next May in our hometown of Birmingham. With WSC, we are planning to draw together business leaders who are setting out to engage and accelerate the adoption of servitization within their organisations.
It is a three-day event with an exclusive focus on servitization and advanced services that will be running in complement with the Spring Servitization Conference (SSC), our leading academic research conference. It will be hosted by the Advanced Services Group at Aston Business School who are internationally recognised as leaders in this field – and who are best placed to ensure quality, relevance and engagement.
What will set the World Servitization Convention apart from other conferences is the combination of an exhibition – or as I like to think of it ‘Servitization Live’ – with demonstrations from businesses in the vanguard of servitization and a conference programme with presentations and workshops from international leaders in the field.
When and where will the World Servitization Convention be held?
It will take place at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, UK on 5, 6 &7 May 2020. We are looking to attract a global audience from industry and the international research community.
We are finding that more and more businesses are contacting us to discuss servitization and advanced services and, perhaps because of this groundswell of interest, there are quite a few events and networks emerging. Many of these are not giving the topic the critical thought and attention it deserves, in my opinion. Therefore, we feel it’s time to raise the bar.
We’ve been running the Spring Servitization Conference as the principal research/academic conference in this topic for the past ten years. Using this as a basis, we are now launching the World Servitization Convention, at which we will bring servitization alive through exhibitions, demonstrations, awards and carefully chosen presentations.
The team underpinning the Advanced Services Group have been working exclusively on the topic of servitization since the late 1990s, and have been at the forefront of conceptualising and applying this innovation to manufacturing businesses within the UK and wider afield.
The team are the most highly cited researchers globally for their work on servitization and have engaged with over 200 businesses since establishing themselves at Aston in 2012. Today, there are over thirty people within the ASG extended team, and this includes honorary Professors from Rolls-Royce and Alstom, as well as active research partnerships with a range of multinational manufacturers.
The Spring Servitization Conference created a platform where the international research and thought leadership community could regularly come together to share insights into the leading innovations in servitization and advanced services.
Since its launch ten years ago, the conference has grown consistently, and is now regularly attended by around 80 - 100 delegates from around the world. It has been held at venues such as Luzern (Switzerland), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Linköping (Sweden).
Within the academic community, SSC is highly regarded, in part because of its focus, standards and range of delegates, but also because of the strong emphasis on papers and presentations that are both academically excellent and industrially relevant.
Each conference includes a small set of industrial keynote speakers from organisations such as Rolls-Royce, GE and Toyota.
Yet, while the conference has grown, it has retained a strong core of regular attendees, which has helped to ensure consistently strong contributions. These in turn have informed to teaching programmes across the world.
How will the World Servitization Convention differ from other conferences?
The notion of the World Servitization Convention emerged through informal discussions in and around the academic and industrial community.
A variety of events and workshops on services do exist for industrialists, many of which ASG has supported in the past. However, at such events servitization is often rolled into a much broader programme around services, digital transformation and field service. We find that when servitization is discussed, these conversations often lack depth and rigour and tend to address service executives or functions, rather than broader executive teams.
Also, some events are organised by vendors, which can be perceived to lack neutrality and this affects the level and form of engagement by industrial practitioners.
These discussions and experiences have resulted in an ambition of ‘doing for business what the Spring Servitization Conference has done for the research community’. Our goal is to create a central, well organised, highly regarded and neutral platform, where industrialists can engage with their peers to advance their understanding about servitization and advanced services. We want to provide a forum centred around exhibits and demonstrations of advanced services and the technologies that enable them - very much setting out to bring servitization alive, showing what it can look like for a business, and the technologies and practices that enable success.
2020 will be the inaugural conference for WSC. In this first year, it will take place in Birmingham and run concurrently with SSC, as there are mutual benefits to both conferences of their close association. However, we are designing WSC from the onset to be sustainable as an independent event in the longer-term.
Overall, WSC will include a range of activities and demonstrations spread over three days. These will include:
• Industry keynotes by senior executives from manufacturing businesses
• Research-centric presentations by internationally recognised researchers
• Developmental workshops by ASG that will introduce industrialists to a range of tools and techniques that can aid their servitization journey
• Demonstrations featuring servitization examples from within businesses and technology enablers from selected vendors/sponsors
• Research poster presentations to bridge the community of research with that of practice.
As always, there will be a formal conference dinner at which a selection of awards will be presented to exemplars of both research and practice.
We hope to be able to welcome you at the first World Servitization Convention. To find out more and to register your interest, please visit https://www.advancedservicesgroup.co.uk/wsc2020
Who is the Advanced Services Group at Aston Business School?
ASG is a centre of excellence in servitization research and practice at Aston Business School. We provide education, training, research and a community of likeminded practitioners around advanced services and servitization, helping global manufacturers and technology innovators to develop services-led strategies.
The Group is led by Professor Tim Baines, the world’s leading scholar on servitization. Tim is the author of over 200 publications on manufacturing strategy, including Made to Serve, the leading textbook on transforming a technology based business to compete through services.