Purpose While scaling is a viable approach to respond to growing demand, service providers in contactintensive services – such as education, healthcare, and social services – struggle to innovate their offerings. The reason is that the scaling of contact-intensive services – unlike purely digital settings – has resource limitations. To help ease the situation, the purpose of this article is to identify and describe the practices used in scaling contact-intensive services to support ICTenabled service innovation. Design/methodology/approach The research draws on an in-depth analysis of three contact-intensive services to examine service innovation practices. The analysis informs model development for service scaling. Findings The analysis uncovers three practices for service scaling – service interaction analysis, service pivoting, and service validation – and their related activities that are applied in a cyclic and iterative logic. Research limitations/implications While the findings reveal that the scalability of contact-intensive services is limited and determined by the formative characteristic of personal interaction, this study and its findings describe how to leverage scalability in contact-intensive services. Practical implications The insights into the practices enable service providers of contact-intensive services to iteratively revise their service offerings and the logic of creating value with the service. Originality/value This research identifies and describes for the first time the practices for the scaling of contactintensive services as an operationalisation of ICT-enabled service innovation.
Stefan Kleinschmidt, Christoph Peters, Jan Marco Leimeister