RESER Council Activity Report 2020

Composition of the Council

  • President: Markus Scheuer, RWI Essen (ret.)
  • Vice-President and Representative to Redlas: Estibaliz Hernandez Eleno (Mondragon University)
  • RESER-Secretary: Céline Merlin Brogniart (University of Lille)
  • Website Editors:
    • Marie Christine Monnoyer (Université de Toulouse 1)
    • Alexander Schletz (Fraunhofer IAO, Stuttgart)
  • Treasurer: José Luis Navarro-Espigares (University of Granada)
  • RESER in social media: Luna Leoni (Roma University)
  • Further council members are:
    • Pedro Costa (Lisbon University Institute)
    • Ida Gremyr (Chalmers University of Technology)
    • Lars Fulgsang (Roskilde University)
    • Tiziiana Russo Spena (University of Naples “Federico II”)
    • Liudmila Bagdonienė (School of Economics and Business, Kaunas University of Technology)
    • Veronika Belousova (HSE University, Russia) has been co-opted to the Council
    • Luis Rubalcaba (University of Alcala, organizer of the RESER-conference)
    • Bernd Bienzeisler (Fraunhofer IAO), co-organizer of the next conference in Heilbronn, Germany

1. General Information on the RESER Council work

Council meetings, communication with members and website

Since the last conference in Ceutá, the Council had frequent meetings to discuss and to decide about the ongoing affairs. The traditional face-to-face meeting was held on March 4th 2020 like usual in Brussels. Reser is grateful to the Delegation of the Basque Country to the EU which has hosted us. The main discussions dealt with:

  • the conference in Alcalá and the candidature for the conference in 2021. Fraunhofer IAO has announced that it may be possible to organize the conference at their affiliate in Heilbronn.
  • The improvement of the newly concepted website. Details about the co-operation with the newly employed service-provider were explained by the Website-editors.
  • How Reser could improve its visibility on social media beyond the existing presence of RESER on LinkedIn.

Additionally, to the face-face-meeting, RESER has had 3 telephone-meetings before the meeting in Brussels.

In March 2020, we had not found a common date and time for a telephone meeting and man-aged to come to an urgent decision regarding the conference in Alcalá. Originally, the confer-ence was planned to be held in June instead of September as usual. But with the Covid-19 pandemic becoming ever more severe, we first postponed it back to September 24th-25th. In the end, we had to go to January 2021 and to organize it completely virtually.

After the summerbreak, the Council has begun to hold the meetings by Zoom. Between September 2020 and the day before the conference we had a total of 5 meetings of this kind. Unsur-prisingly, most of the points to be discussed and decided had been questions and details concerning the conference in Alcalá. In the last meeting of 2020, the Fraunhofer IAO has confirmed the offer to organize the next Reser-conference in Heilbronn, which was thankfully accepted by the Council. After a vivid exchange of mails and telephone-calls we also decided about the topic of the conference: »The disruptive Role of Data, AI and Ecosystems in Services Next Gen«. We also agreed on 10 sub-tracks for this conference.

There were additionally numerous contacts and discussions between individual members of the Council tackling actual questions, especially between the Website-editors and the outside expert. The Council has informed the RESER members about its activities via the website and the minutes. A digest version of the minutes is regularly updated on the website.

Besides the difficulties with the organization of the conference in the pandemic, the development of the website has been and will be in the future the most important occupation of the Council. Alexander Schletz of Fraunhofer IAO will be responsible for the more technical aspects. A new ICT-services provider has fixed previously existing legal and technical problems with the web-site. Marie-Christine Monnoyer continues to be the main person to care about the content. But every member of the Council is still also called to look at it and to make contributions. The Council intends to develop the site continuously.

The RESER website is the main repository of information of RESER and its main channel of circulation of information amongst members and with broader services research community. Consequently, it has been very actively updated by our Webmaster Marie Christine Monnoyer and used as main communication tool to members (in parallel to other resources such as mailing lists and digital social media). The work of Alexander Schletz in creating the new website and organizing the technical facilities of the telephone-meetings of the Council has been very much appreciated.

Membership

RESER has two institutional members which are currently Mondragon Innovation and Know-ledge (from Basque Country, Spain) and Fraunhofer IAO (from Germany). Individual members are normally the attendants of the past conference. This means that after the conference in Gothenburg, we had stricto sensu about 45 members. But there are a lot more researchers who feel interested and attached to the association even though they could not attend the last confer-ence. In total, we have about 150 researchers building the regular Reser-community. As Reser is engaged in helping and promoting especially young researcher and PhD-students, there has al-ways been an extensive fluctuation between years and conferences. Often, the location of the conference plays an important role in the attendance. In earlier times, RESER had also individual members beyond that who paid their fees independently of their atten¬dance at conferences. By extending our interaction with the services-research community, we are trying to re-establish this form of membership more as well.

The Ceutá Conference

The RESER annual conference in September 2019 was jointly organized by the Faculty of Edu-cation, Economy and Technology of Ceuta and the University of Granada and Institute of Ceuta. The title was: »Services and the future of workforce.«

Citing from the call, the motivation of the conference was explained as follows:

»Besides the necessary ecological changes in the context of global warming, a new scenario is approaching us. We are living a new transforming impulse in the process of globalization, Globalization 4.0, closely linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution which raises again im-portant questions about global governance. The unprecedented pace of technological change means that some service systems will be completely transformed, i.e. healthcare, transportation, communication, distribution, and finances. To face this new economy, we must remember that we are not playing a zero-sum game. Thus, we have to use the current moment to explore the gaps in the present system, and to identify the requirements for a future approach that guarantees that it achieves improvements in terms of both, global production and fair distribution.
Like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world. But, at the same time, the revolution could yield greater inequality, particularly in its potential to disrupt labour markets. It maybe even result in a new model of income distribution in which salaries and labour retribution could lose their prominent position in favour of a universal basic income.

That point is the one that inspires the main theme of this conference. During last decades, the process of the tertiarization of the employment has been quite obvious for most countries; a trend which is accentuated for the most important tertiary activities, mainly in terms of intersec-toral relationships (producer services) and those related to the development of the welfare state (social services). Currently, around 72.5% of employment in OECD countries is concentrated in service activities. A similar percentage is shown for the European Union, and the United States reaches even almost 80%.

Up to the present, Europe and most developed countries have changed their economy transform-ing their model, fundamentally based on industry, into a different one which is based on service activities. As a result, in recent years, the bulk of employment has been generated by services, but this trend may be interrupted by the new emerging scenario, characterized by robots and artificial intelligence. Thus, great challenges open up for the service sector, not only at the end of this transformation process, but also in the transition period. In fact, service activities are likely to continue to concentrate an increasing percentage of employment. However, so far there are more questions than answers.«

The conference was regarded by the participants as a success, not only because of the interesting scientific presentations and discussions but also because of the flawless organization and the attractive and scenic location. The conference was covered by local Radio and TV and in 5 arti-cles in local newspapers.
The team had put up a highly interesting program with not only academic sessions, but also tracks in collaboration with industry and city representatives. The balance between practitioners and academics, which has become a trademark of RESER for many years, has proved again to be very fruitful.

The participants came mainly from Europe but also from Brazil, China, and Japan.

The 2019 RESER Founders’ PhD Award went to:

  • First price: Nikolay Chichkanov, National Research University Higher School of Economics, for his paper: »Service and Knowledge Coproduction as an Innovation Driver in Knowledge-intensive Business Services«.
  • Second price: Birutė Vilčiauskaitė, Kaunas University of Technology, for her paper: »Rethinking of older talent’s re-careering trajectories in later life.«

RESER Council priorities for 2021

In line with recommendations at the GA in Ceutá the Council has identified the following priority actions to be carried out in 2020:

a) Close collaboration with the organization of the 2020 annual conference in Alcalá.

This year, for the first time, the conference was jointly organized with COVAL.

The council has actively collaborated with the local organizing committee in Alcalá which was represented in the Council by the former Reser President Luis Rubalcaba (Professor at the University of Alcalá).

The council was involved in the formulation of the call for papers, the suggestion of keynote speakers and thematic sessions, as well as in the support to the organization of practical issues. The academic and industry interaction is considered to be vital for the conference and brings together people from both industry and the public sector within the program. As in precedent years, the RESER Council and the organization of the conference worked together in order to make the conference a special floor to increase the cooperation strategy with other institutions and services networks, and to increase the visibility of RESER.

But this year, due to the pandemic, everything was much more difficult than in any other of the 29 conferences before. As a result of the co-operation with COVAL the conference was origi-nally planned for June. But with the infections growing, we first tried to save it in its in-person fashion by postponing it to September. But the infection situation and the second wave of the pandemic made it inevitable to make it virtual in the second half of January 2021.

It is very remarkable how the team in Alcalá has been able to get around all of these unprece-dented difficulties and to organize a virtual 30th Annual Reser Conference with not less than 9 tracks for researchers, 1 for practitioners, with 50 Parallel sessions and 150 papers.

270 participants came from all over Europe, South America and some African countries.

b) Publications

A large part of the discussions about publication in the Council has focused on the ever getting stricter requirements of publishers of journals and books. This makes it for Reser much more difficult to publish and share content regarding the ongoing research in the community which has been much easier in the past. We are still trying to find solutions that makes it possible to share information about what is going on in our community when it comes to finding for example international partners for common projects.

RESER also has tried to facilitate the publication of the scientific work of the community.
RESER has connections with several journals for potential publications and also established some relations, that could offer possibilities for quick review, and publishing quickly some papers of the RESER conferences. The following journals with which RESER has a relationship are potential publication outlets: European Review of Service Economics and Management, Innovation. Revue d’Economie et de Management de l’Innovation (I-REMI), Journal of Innovation Economics & Management (I-JIEM).

Therefore, it has been a great initiative by the conference of Alcalá to invite the editors of more journals to the conference to make contacts with the participants. Additionally to ERSEM, European Review of Service Economics and Management, these were the Research Policy and the Services Industries Journal.

In principle, there could be established a RESER publishing series with Edward Elgar, prepar-ing a book edited by us. Unfortunately, nothing has been coming forward in the last year, but it is worthwhile to continue our efforts. But it should be clear that this will mean a lot of unpaid work by RESER-volunteers.

Additionally, the Council has discussed setting-up a library on our website where we publish selected service-research related papers as far this will be possible due to copyright issues.

c) Relation with REDLAS

The relation with REDLAS (The Latin American and Caribbean Network on Services Re-search) that has been continued and extended in the last years has in 2020 also suffered under the conditions of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the collaboration of RESER with REDLAS should and will continue being a positive experience with high potential in the future. Estibaliz Hernandez Eleno has succeeded to Maria Savona in the function as a liaison between the two associations.

d) Visibility of RESER

Following the GA recommendations on the need to improve the visibility of RESER, engaging more with other areas of society, and organizing sessions of dissemination in other conferences, etc., active participation and potential financial support has been one of the options proposed by the council. The council has also discussed how to interact more with other organizations such as the EU. This relationship should be reinforced with the Commission. But these efforts were practically brought to a halt by the pandemic as well.
Gaining access to European research funds is highly disputed. RESER will be having a hard time to help its (international) research teams to be successful. But the effort to get a foot in the door continues to be worthwhile.

RESER will also try again to intensify our relations with CEN/CENELEC on taking part in the work on standardization of services within Europe which has been initiated originally by the European Business Services Roundtable.

But our main tool of gaining visibility remains the RESER website. The new site was opened in October 2018. After fixing the initial problems with legal requirements like stating the responsi-bility for and explaining how we protect the data we are gathering with the help of an outside expert, the website is still far from what is wanted and needed to serve as the instrument that Reser wishes to show to the research community. The Council has always agreed that this difficult and time-consuming task must not be left to the two Council-members mainly responsible for taking care of the site, Marie-Christine Monnoyer as the main responsible person for the content in the Council and Alexander Schletz who is responsible for the more technical aspects of our site.

Less the design but filling it up with interesting content will always be a work in progress which would be insufficient if left only to the Council. People (inside or outside of the Council) could be in charge for example of finding information on the PhD-thesis-projects. Luna who has de-veloped already continually updated our LinkedIn-profile will take the lead in finding more ways to be present in the social media.

The RESER webpage should be actively used and updated, all through the year. The main chal-lenge remains to have a continuous flow of information from the members, in order to keep the webpage updated and attractive to visitors. There is always the need of more information, par-ticularly showing the regular activity of members. Other challenge is to establish again more efficient and quick links to conference papers after each conference, overcoming the difficulties set-up by journal publishers during the publication process. All RESER members are encouraged to submit information to the Council that they want to publish on the web. With the extensive database on member teams the RESER website is a platform that enables members to con-nect to other members more easily when building teams for projects or looking for partners for developing other ways of cooperation. Information should be sent to the website manager (marie-christine.monnoyer@univ-tlse1.fr) or posted at the RESER LinkedIn Group.

If we should be more successful than in the past in doing all this, we could come closer to achieving our ambitious goal of becoming with our web site a reference for the community of services researchers. This requires an extensive and intensive exchange and interaction with the RESER-membership and – if possible – newly interested researchers in our field of study. They have to let us know what they need and expect getting from us. We will need to know and share with the RESER-community information of their work also outside and beyond RESER.

Sometimes, papers presented at RESER or elsewhere are not published but have been given for example to HAL or ResearchGate. We would like to have them also on the RESER-website. We would very much appreciate getting in contact about this possibility which would further improve the visibility of our research-work and help to lead to more interchanges and co-operation between the teams.

Administrative and Financial issues

Jose Luis Navarro has been the RESER treasurer and has helped the organization to enhance the efficiency of financial issues.

The financial situation of RESER is presented in the accounting report.

Report prepared by: Markus Scheuer, President RESER