Signs and Practices as Resources in IT-Related Service Innovation

Helge Lobler, University of Leipzig
Robert Lusch, University of Arizona

Emerging from the rapid growth of information technology in a digital world is the explosion and rapid ascendance of information technology–related service innovation occurring around the globe. All successful service innovation in a digital world consists of two main abstract domains: signs, because only signs can be digitized, and practices. Signs are perceivable, but practices are not. Signs are commonly understood as resources in the digital world, while practices are understood as providing context, not as resources. This article proposes a change in this perspective: According to service-dominant logic, both signs and practices can become resources for service and value cocreation. They become resources if they are integrated in a service offering. The authors illustrate how recent digital service innovations can be explained with this perspective and how it can be used to distinguish incremental from radical innovation. It also suggests, using this perspective, that marketers and innovation specialists can productively develop ideas and concepts, for future service innovation. From the practices framework presented, directions for further research are discussed.


Helge Lobler, Robert Lusch, “Signs and Practices as Resources in IT-Related Service Innovation,” MIS Quarterly.