INF2313H Introduction to Service Science


Faculty of Information

Winter 2018


Instructor: Professor Kelly Lyons

Meeting Dates and times: Sat Jan 20, Sat Feb 3, Sat Feb 17, Sat March 10 from 1pm to 5pm and Sat April 7 from 10am-5pm

Preparation: The weeks we do not meet will be prep weeks in which students will carry out self-study activities and assignments to prepare for the next meeting.

Office Hours: Tuesdays 3pm to 5pm (starting January 23, 2018)

Meeting Room: We will meet in BL728 in the Bissell Building on the University of Toronto St. George Campus. For thousands of years, the land on which the University of Toronto operates has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Let us acknowledge that our meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and let us be grateful to have the opportunity to work and learn on this land.

Course Description:  Service science is an interdisciplinary field that combines social science, business, and engineering knowledge needed for individuals and organizations (private, public, or nonprofit) to succeed in the shift to the service and information-based economy. This course will investigate the nature of services, the need for interdisciplinary approaches to services innovation, and the technology and tools needed to grow services innovation. Students will review several papers, engage in discussions, facilitate case studies, complete assignments (including use of business modeling tools), and write a final paper. Through all of these mechanisms, students will investigate and study 1) the need for services innovation and services science, 2) current research directions in services science, and 3) technologies needed to support innovation in services.

Course Objectives: Service science brings together multiple disciplines (computer science, marketing, operations research, information systems, engineering, etc.) to study service systems. Service systems are complex systems that vary in scope (from people to businesses, organizations, governments, and nations) and involve people, information, organizations, and technology adapting dynamically and connecting internally and externally to other service systems through value propositions. In all types of service systems (government services, service enterprises, and non-profit service organizations), value is realized through interactions with other service systems.  A motivation for the emergence of service science is the fact that the service sector is the fastest growing in most economies yet it lacks strong conceptual foundations. Most iSchool graduates will work in a service environment. Even manufacturing and commodity based entities have significant service components as well.  In fact, recent technology advances including artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), pervasiveness of bots, augmented reality, etc. have enabled the transformation from non-service to service businesses. In this course, we will study service science and service systems with a focus on frontier technologies (clean technology – CleanTech, advanced manufacturing, smart buildings, and financial technology – FinTech). Together, these technologies impact the following industrial sectors in Canada, many of which are not traditionally considered to be service industries: professional, scientific, and technical services; mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; utilities; construction; and, finance and insurance. Together, these sectors make up 40% of Canada’s gross domestic product.[1] 

This course is intended to help prepare students for successful careers in the information professions where much of the work is service based.  The course is designed to build an understanding of the main theories and concepts of service science and to help students apply those theories to better understand, design, and innovate within service systems.

Course Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1.      Understand and critique the ways in which researchers and practitioners are defining service activities and service science (Demonstrated through Preparation Assignments B, C, and the Final Report)

2.      Articulate the motivation behind the study of service science and relate their own experiences to the study of service science (Demonstrated through the Final Report)

3.      Apply theories that are emerging in the area of service science and identify current limitations in applying those theories (Demonstrated through Preparation Assignment B, C, and the Final Report)

4.      Articulate ways in which organizations are changing what they do through innovative uses of technology and discuss the implications of these changes (Demonstrated through Preparation Assignments A, D, the Presentation, and the Final Report)

5.      Describe ways in which technology is providing innovations in service and non-service activities  (Demonstrated through Preparation Assignments A, D, the Presentation, and the Final Report)

In addition to learning the specific course material, students will also:

6.      Share their knowledge and contribute to the learning of their classmates (Demonstrated through in-class activities)

7.      Understand challenges of interdisciplinary research and learn strategies for reviewing and critiquing papers and concepts in areas outside their fields (Demonstrated through in-class activities and all of the assignments)

Relationship between Course Learning Outcomes and Program Learning Outcomes: Most iSchool graduates will work in a service environment and services are becoming a fundamental aspect of information disciplines. This course will help students understand and be conversant in the fundamentals and theories of service (a fundamental aspect of information disciplines) (Program Outcome 1).   The knowledge and values imparted in INF2313 are appropriate to students’ future exercise of economic, cultural and social leadership and the provision of information services for all (Program Outcome 2).   Through our focus on service innovation through emerging technological advances, students will develop an understanding of the application of new technological developments to the preservation and communication of information, and in the identification of the impact of such developments on society (Program Outcome 5).

Course Structure: This course is being offered in a modular format with a total of 5 classes during the term. During the weeks that the class does not meet, students will conduct self-study activities to prepare for the next meeting. It is imperative that students make every effort to attend all classes. The class sessions will be a combination of lectures, discussions, interactive exercises and in-class activities. Blackboard will be used as a learning management system to support sharing of information, weekly slides, important dates, assignments, and other information about the course, as well as the facilitation of interaction among students and with the instructor on topics related to the course. Note that for every one (1) hour of contact, you can expect to do 2.5 hours of reading and preparation work on your own. See also general expectations.

Deliverables and Evaluation: All of these assignments are individual; however, students will compare and share aspects of each with each other during class to help develop the content for their final paper.

Preparation Assignments

Prior to each class, students will complete an on-line assignment related to the readings and topic of the meeting week. This self-study work will be discussed and shared in class and will form the basis for the Final Report.

A. Case Study Development: Due January 17

B. Analysis as a Service System: Due January 31

C. From Data to Value:

Due February 14

D. Innovation in Service Systems: Due March 7

4 x 7.5% each = 30%

Final Report

Students will prepare a final report that: 1) describes their chosen case study; 2) analyzes some aspect of it as a service system; 3) uses a nine-factor framework to identify data-based value creation within it; 4) describes a data-based innovation within the case study; and, 5) provides a critical reflection.

Due: March 31 midnight

Each of the sections is worth 8%

5 x 8% = 40%

Panel Presentations

Organized in panels, students will present for 8-10 min about a data-based innovation in their chosen case study

April 7*




Assessed through the use of a “One-Minute Paper”: During the last few minutes of each class, students will write on a piece of paper: “Most important thing I learned today; what I understood least; and, what was my most important contribution.”

January 20, February 3, February 17, March 10,

April 7

3% x 5 each = 15%

*April 7 is the last day of Passover; requests for accommodation for religious observances should be made to the instructor by March 10.

Four Preparation Assignments: The preparation assignments are designed to ensure students are sufficiently prepared to contribute to and benefit from the next class meeting. In most cases, the questions in these assignments ask students to apply concepts from the readings to a particular context. It is *not* expected that students will have complete and polished responses to the questions in each of these assignments. In fact, in some cases, the application of the concepts to a particular context may not be straightforward.  In these situations, students do not need to answer the question but should explain why the application of the concept is difficult in that particular context. In all cases, students will further develop the work done in the Preparation Assignments during class. In the Final Report, students will synthesize the work from the Preparation Assignments with results from in-class discussions and additional investigations to demonstrate the further develop and refinement of their knowledge and learning.

Final Report: The final report must be double spaced, 1 inch margins, 12 pt font. You must include a cover page with the report title, your name, and student number. Each page MUST contain only the title of your report and page number in the header or footer (but NOT your name or student number).  For all assignments, see important details about what is expected in your papers under General Expectations.

Weekly Schedule:

PREPARE January 13 Introduction to the Service Science, Service Systems, and Frontier Technologies


·         IfM and IBM. (2008). Succeeding through Service Innovation: A Service Perspective for Education, Research, Business and Government. Cambridge, United Kingdom: University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing. ISBN: 978-1-902546-65-0. Link:

·         Katzan, H. (2009). Principles of service systems: An ontological approach. Journal of Service Science, 2(2), 35–52. Link:

·         Lyons, K. (2010). Service science in iSchools. Published online in the Proceedings of the 5th Annual iSchool Conference (University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, IL, February 36, 2010), 5 pages.

·         Maglio, P. P., Vargo, S., Caswell, N., & Spohrer, J. (2009). The service system is the basic abstraction of service science. Information Systems & e-Business Mgmt, 7, 395-406. Link:

·         Case Study 1: Clean Technology (CleanTech)

·         Case Study 2: Advanced Manufacturing

·         Case Study 3: Smart Buildings

·         Case Study 4: Financial Technology (FinTech)

MEET January 20 Introduction to the Service Science, Service Systems, and Frontier Technologies

PREPARE January 27 Value Cocreation, Service-Dominant Logic, Identifying and Describing Service Systems


·         Glushko, R. J. (2013). Describing service systems. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, 23, 11–18. doi: 10.1002/hfm.20514   Link:

·         Lyons, K. & Tracy, S. (2013). Characterizing organizations as service systems. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, 23, 19–27. doi: 10.1002/hfm.20517 Link:

·         Tracy, S. & Lyons, K. (2013). Service systems and the social enterprise. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, 23, 28–36. doi: 10.1002/hfm.20516 Link:

·         Vargo, S.L., Lusch, R.F. & Akaka, M. A. (2010). Advancing service science with service-dominant logic:  Clarifications and conceptual development. In: P.P. Maglio et al. (eds.), Handbook of Service Science, Service Science: Research and Innovations in the Service Economy, 133-156. Link:  

·         Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2016). Institutions and axioms: an extension and update of service-dominant logic. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 44(1), 5-23. Link:


MEET February 3 Value Cocreation, Service-Dominant Logic, Identifying and Describing Service Systems

PREPARE February 10 Information Technology, Data Science, and Service Innovation


·         Borangiu, T., & Polese, F. (2017). Introduction to the Special Issue on Exploring Service Science for Data-Driven Service Design and Innovation, 6 pages. Link:

·         Breidbach, C. F., & Maglio, P. P. (2013). Does Big Data Provide Big Opportunities for Service Research? Service Excellence in Management, 187-189. Link:      

·         Koskela-Huotari, K., Siltaloppi, J., & Vargo, S. L. (2016, January). Designing institutional complexity to enable innovation in service ecosystems. In System Sciences (HICSS), 2016 49th Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 1596-1605) Link:

·         Lim, C., Kim, K. H., Kim, M. J., Heo, J. Y., Kim, K. J., & Maglio, P. P. (2018). From data to value: A nine-factor framework for data-based value creation in information-intensive services. International Journal of Information Management, 39, 121-135. Link:

·         Lusch, R. F., & Nambisan, S. (2015). Service innovation: A service-dominant logic perspective. MIS Quarterly, 39(1), 155-175. Link:


MEET February 17 Information Technology, Data Science, and Service Innovation

READING WEEK February 24 Recharge

PREPARE March 3 Innovation in Service Systems


·         Barrett, M., Davidson, E., Prabhu, J., & Vargo, S. L. (2015). Service innovation in the digital age: key contributions and future directions. MIS Quarterly, 39(1), 135-154. Link:

·         Glushko, R. J., & Nomorosa, K. J. (2013). Substituting information for interaction: A framework for personalization in service encounters and service systems. Journal of Service Research, 16(1), 21-38. Link:

·         Herterich, M. M., Buehnen, T., Uebernickel, F., & Brenner, W. (2016, January). A Taxonomy of Industrial Service Systems Enabled by Digital Product Innovation. In System Sciences (HICSS), 2016 49th Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 1236-1245). Link:

·         Samit, J. (December 2017) Four Technology Trends That Will Transform Our World in 2018. Link:

·         World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies. (June 2016). Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2016, 18 pages. Download the PDF from:


MEET March 10 Innovation in Service Systems

PREPARE March 17 Finalize Presentation and Work on Final Report

PREPARE March 24 Work Together to Schedule Panel Presentations

PREPARE March 31 Final Report Due

MEET April 7 Final “Conference” and Panel Presentations


General Expectations:

1.      Communication Policy: Please do not email questions to the instructor. If you have a question, there is a pretty good chance that other people in the course have the same question or, at least, will benefit from the answer.  Please post all questions to Blackboard (using the most appropriate forum) so that everyone in the course can benefit from your questions and our answers.  Questions posted to Blackboard will be answered within two (2) business days. Students are encouraged to post answers to the questions of other students where appropriate.

2.      Readings: It is important to complete the required readings before class in order to fully benefit from the class activities.  

3.      Participation and Attendance:  Discussion and interaction in the classes are important ways to learn. Sharing your experiences and ideas with your classmates is central to your learning experience in this course.  As such, you should attend and participate in every class.  There will be exercises and discussions in which you will participate in your class.  Some of the activities will be very helpful in completing your assignments.  Participation grade will be calculated based on responses to the “One-Minute Paper” at the end of each class. 

4.      What I expect in a paper:  I expect papers and reports to be well-written, well-organized and easy to follow. They should flow easily from one point to the next. Papers should have proper sentence structure, spelling, vocabulary and grammar. Each point should be articulated clearly and completely without being overly verbose.  Papers should demonstrate your understanding of the topics you are studying in the course and your confidence in using the terms, techniques and issues you have learned.  As always, references must be properly included and cited. In general, you should be creative, critical, bold, provocative, strong and confident in your ability to make your point(s), sufficiently argue your point(s), and generally in your ability to contribute to the learning and engagement of your readers.  The best way to gain confidence in your ability to make a point, argue it sufficiently, and make a contribution with your writing is to practise and then practise again. An excellent place to practise is in your professional masters program and courses like this one.

5.      Late policy:  Students are expected to manage their time effectively.  If no extension has been granted, the late submission of an assignment carries a penalty of 5% per week to a maximum of three weeks. Assignments will not be accepted after three weeks.

6.      Grading Policies: Please consult the iSchool’s Grade Interpretation Guidelines and the University Assessment and Grading Practices Policy. These documents form the basis for grading in the course.

7.      Writing Support: Please make use of the writing support provided to graduate students by the SGS Office of English Language and Writing Support   The services are designed to target the needs of both native and non-native speakers and all programs are free. Please consult the current workshop schedule  for more information.

8.      Academic integrity: Please consult the University’s site on Academic Integrity  The iSchool has a zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism as defined in section B.I.1.(d) of the University’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters   You should acquaint yourself with the Code.  Please review the material in Cite it Right and if you require further clarification, consult the site How Not to Plagiarize   Cite it Right covers relevant parts of the U of T Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters (1995). It is expected that all iSchool students take the Cite it Right workshop and the online quiz.  Completion of the online Cite it Right quiz should be made prior to the second week of classes. To review and complete the workshop, visit the orientation portion of the iSkills site:  

9.      Accommodations: Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. If you have a disability or a health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or the Accessibility Services Office as soon as possible. The Accessibility Services staff are available by appointment to assess needs, provide referrals and arrange appropriate accommodations. The sooner you let them and I know your needs, the quicker we can assist you in achieving your learning goals in this course.


[1] Statistics Canada Gross domestic product at basic prices, by industry (August 2017)