Knowledge-intensive services, services designed to solve society's "grand challenges", and product-related services all have the huge potential to stimulate research and development. This, in turn, helps create competitive advantages, employment and wealth, similar to innovations in the manufacturing sector.
These service categories are wide-ranging:
- In the knowledge sector, the spectrum covers telecommunications services, information services, financial services (e.g. insurance models, etc.), communications & media, logistics, services in the healthcare sector, and in the field of social innovations.
- Services in terms of society's “grand challenges” address factors such as an ageing population, mobility, environment, the design of living spaces, and security.
- Product support services are more broad-based than purely after-sales servicing and maintenance, and range from customised design, licencing and production processes, through to analytics and engineering.
- Smart services and new business models in production.
- Irrespective of the service category, the FFG supports the development of new services as a research and development process in its own right, taking into account the special characteristics of such a process. A special focus must be placed on raising awareness amongst politics and business of the potential and importance of research and development in the services sector.
FFG involvement and funding of innovative services has the following goals:
- Raising awareness of the need for research and development in the service sector.
- Strengthening research and development in the service sector by opening up the funding system to non-technological methods.
- Officially recognising new R&D and innovation processes such as user-centred innovation, new business models, supporting a multidisciplinary approach, and new modes of delivery.
- Adequately addressing societal challenges by actively involving the social, human and creative sciences in R&D.
- Securing competitive advantages through product development to boost customer retention by offering innovative services.
- Supporting manufacturing enterprises as they expand existing fields of business, and establish new ones by developing new services and business models based on existing information drawn from networked structures.