2013 – Jim Spohrer, Innovation Champion & Director, IBM

The second S-D Logic award was given to Jim Spohrer, Innovation Champion and Director, IBM. The award was presented at the Naples Forum in June of 2013.


Jim Spohrer is Innovation Champion and Director of IBM Global University Programs, Co-Founder of Service Research with Paul Maglio, based at IBM Research – Almaden, San Jose, California, USA.
He graduated from MIT with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Yale University with a Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science, specialized in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science applied to modeling learners engaged in complex problem solving task.
He is a Fellow of PICMET (Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology), and received Apple’s Distinguished Engineer, Scientist, and Technology award for work on learning platform evolution.
He is an international pioneer in the field of service science, currently with a special focus on the evolving ecology of nested, networked service system species, including universities and cities, searching for a possible Moore’s Law of scaling for smart service system interconnected by platform technologies. In 2006 he co-edited a special issue of the Communications of the ACM with a focus on service science, including co-authoring a research manifesto for service science with Professor Henry Chesbrough of the University of California at Berkeley, pioneer of Open Innovation. In 2010, he co-edited the Handbook of Service Science, with Paul Maglio and Cheryl Kieliszewski. In 2012, he co-founded the International Society of Service Innovation Professionals (ISSIP), and is on its Board of Directors. In 2013, at the Naples Forum he was the second recipient of the S-D Logic Award for “Pioneering and Continuing Achievement” as well as the Evert Gummesson Outstanding Research Award to be given to scholars who have contributed with innovative and sustainable service research.

He has written or contributed to more than 90 publications and 9 patents, and published articles in INFORMS Journal of Service Research, Communication of the ACM, IEEE Computer, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Production and Operations Management, Human-Computer Interactions, Information Systems and e-Business Management, IBM Systems Journal, International Journal of Information Systems in the Service Sector.

In 2002, as part of IBM’s transformation to a service-led business, he co-founded the first Service Research group in IBM Research – Almaden, with Paul Maglio, and over a seven years grew the group to win IBM Research Awards for contribution to IBM revenue growth of over $500M, in multiple areas including improving existing service offerings (component-business modeling of industry and service-oriented architectures), creating new service offerings (big data analytics and web services), internal process improvements (costing and pricing of complex deals), and pioneering Service Science Management and Engineering (SSME) as an integrated approach across academic disciplines. Working with global colleagues in academics, industry, and government, he has helped establish service systems as the basic object of study of service science, and contributed to the articulation of research priorities for a science of service. Building on Service-Dominant Logic as the worldview, and service system entities as resource integrators, he promotes the study of service systems for both their economic and scientific significance.

He achieved the title of IBM Innovation Champion after the selection of SSME by IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano as one of one hundred Icons of Progress to commemorate IBM’s Centennial in 2012. Over the years, as more disciplines have been embraced, service science became the shorthand notation for Service Science Management Engineering – Design, Arts, and Public Policy (SSME-DAPP), working to become a true transdiscipline that borrows from many disciplines to create a more holistic view of the world’s diverse species of service systems. As Director of IBM Global University Programs, he studies universities and cities, as nested, networked holistic service systems and their key role in rapidly spreading innovations globally. He has also contributed to IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative with special emphasis on university-based entrepreneurial ecosystems and regional economic development to enhance quality-of-life in cities.

To support new transdisciplinary thinking in service science, smart service systems and technology platforms, and service innovation, he co-founded the International Society of Service Innovation Professionals (ISSIP) in 2012 with colleagues from other Information Technology companies and universities to be an umbrella professional association, with open membership to all students as well as academic, industry, public sector professionals who are members of existing professional association, and enthusiastically promote service innovations for our interconnected world. ISSIP encourages the development T-shaped professionals with depth and breadth across disciplines, sectors, and regions. He has actively supported the National Science Foundation in its efforts to establish more funding for universities working with industry to develop smart service systems based on platform technologies that scale the benefits of new knowledge globally, rapidly, and profitably.

He is a current member of editorial boards, among them Journal of Service Research, INFORMS Journal of Service Science. He co-edits the Service Systems and Innovations in Business and Society collection of Business Expert Press with Professor Haluk Demirkan of University of Washington.

He is a frequent speaker at conferences, companies, and universities throughout the world. Examples are PICMET, USA; American Marketing Association SERVSIG, Portugal; Frontiers in Service, Australia and USA; Naples Forum, Italy; International Research Symposium in Service Management, Indonesia; Society of Serviceology ICSERV, Japan; International Conference of Service Science, China; Association of Human Factors and Ergonomics Human-Side of Service Engineering, USA; International Conference on Service Design, South Korea; International Society of Systems Sciences, Mexico, USA; Compete Through Service Center for Service Leadership, USA: VTT, Finland; Carnegie Mellon University, USA; Alto University, Finland; National Academy of Science, USA; National Science Foundation, USA; Karlsruhe Institute of Technoogy KSRI, Germany; Rochester Institute of Technology, USA; University of Rome, Italy; University of Texas El Paso, USA; University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University, USA; Tokyo University, Japan; NUS, Singapore; University of Cairo, Egypt; Oxford, UK; Cambridge, UK; IBM Research, USA, China, Japan, Switzerland, India; HP Research, USA, UK; Cisco, USA; IEEE Transforming Engineering Education, Ireland.

Dr. Spohrer receiving the S-D Logic Award at the 2013 Naples Forum on Service. (left to right: Dr. Stephen L. Vargo, Dr. Jim Spohrer, Dr. Robert F. Lusch)