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Services Sciences – A Key Driver of 21st Century Prosperity

April 9, 2008

If the U.S. economy and workers' wages are to grow robustly over the next several decades, the key will be to find better ways to enable innovation and achieve higher productivity gains in services sector, which accounts for 80 percent of the economy. Yet, even though services are central to our future, neither our technology and economic policies nor our higher education practices have kept up with the reality of continued growth in services, much of it in information-intensive and health-care related services.

At this ITIF forum, Dr. Bill Hefley, Associate Teaching Professor in the Service Management area at Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science and Heinz School of Public Policy and Management and editor of the new book Service Science, Management and Engineering: Education for the 21st Century, will make the case that it is time to bring the same scientific rigor to services that has long been applied to manufacturing. One key step is to continue to grow the nascent academic discipline of "Service Science." Because services depend critically on people working together and with technology to provide value for others, these new skills include the ability to integrate across traditional disciplinary areas to obtain globally effective solutions. Service Science is one such approach to properly focusing education and research on services, and to preparing today's workforce and tomorrow's graduates to work high-wage, high-skill careers in an expanding services economy. This new book documents the results of the largest and most diverse gathering ever in support of service education, and provides unique insights into global activities in service science. It provides a backdrop for the forthcoming federal study regarding strategic support for research, education, and training in service science.