This is the second part of a series on Open Service Innovation. Part one is found here.

So how are open innovation principles currently applied and how could they be further applied in the context of space downstream services, specifically exploring the European scenario? We examine the Galileo and Copernicus programs and other examples.

In examining how open innovation principles are and how they could further be applied in the context of space downstream services, specifically exploring the European Galileo and Copernicus programs, it is relevant to underline that the free, full, and open data policy of the European Union represents the foundation on which it’s possible to build a new service-based economy. It is also important to understand which stakeholders are involved, directly or indirectly representing the end-user communities, since mapping the societal needs and providing this information in form of service requirements to the organizations designing new space programs, or the evolution of the current ones, is of critical nature.

Service design requires a proper economic assessment of the value chain to ensure that it is optimized for all the actors involved. The open service innovation model fits very well with this approach, since it encourages the engagement of the whole spectrum of available collaborators and stakeholders to bring new ideas to market. The size of the user communities is increasing thanks to the integrated nature of the new services. Indeed, in the global context, an increasing proportion of companies’ revenues stems from services, and these are becoming a key differentiation tool in the competitive landscape. For example, enhanced mobility solutions, including the upcoming self-driving cars and delivery drones, will require a combination of integrated space based services to be developed in coordination with the car, logistics, and aviation industries.

We can note that the increasing interlink between communities is requiring new ways of thinking and new models to be applied. In this context, the full deployment of Galileo, providing precise positioning for civil purposes, and Copernicus, offering Earth observation data in near real time, will represent a new element in the European innovation landscape. In order to be a real game changer, it will be essential that the needs of all the actors will be taken into account in a very early stage of the development process of the space downstream segment, moving from a technology push approach towards a demand pull perspective. Space-based services will be then in a position to supply companies with new tools and business models that will enable them to keep abreast of their competitors and provide a higher value to customers.

The stream of open services innovation specifically studies how to apply open innovation principles to the realm of service management to develop innovative services that better embrace customers’ needs. This principle applies particularly in the case of cities. In fact, the further growth of cities all over the world will challenge the environment and natural resources, and in parallel it will increase the demand for food, water, and energy. Therefore, the need for optimizing urban management services will require careful use of assets that will have to be interconnected with physical and communications infrastructures, transportation systems, and security services, leading to the creation of a new ecosystem: smart cities. Smart Cities is the ideal field for the development of innovative and integrated downstream services.

In this context, open service innovation principles can be applied to favor the exchange of information and requirements in the initial service design phase, enhancing the opportunities of co-development between, for example, the space and the ICT communities. The latest technology trends indicate that we are quickly moving towards the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, and cognitive computing, and all these elements are essential in addressing the provision of real-time data from Earth Observation satellites, which require flexible and intelligent infrastructures to cover variable demand flows in services provision.

Another key principle of this type of innovation includes re-designing business models from product-based to service-based models, built around the concept of customer utility. Customers should therefore be fully engaged in co-creation processes, helping to shape services around their specific needs and providing real-time feedback on the business models being implemented. An example is the development of new services for the ageing population, which is consistently increasing, particularly in Europe. Geo-localization, as well as enhanced telecommunications and cybersecurity, can enable innovative e-health services and welfare solutions. The involvement of the citizens in this case is of primary importance, since the provision of these services is targeted to individuals which necessitate of primary and secondary care.

It is essential that not only these actors, but the stakeholders’ community at large is open to considering that space assets may be effective and cost-efficient tools, and that the space community is ready to ensure their direct involvement in defining user requirements. Therefore the use of platforms to standardize information and to ease communication between actors should be encouraged. Two leading organizations are currently looking at the new space economy paradigm and it is encouraged that the various stakeholders participate in these forums, and other dedicated conferences:

– World Economic Forum

– OECD (Space & Innovation Platform)

As further suggestions, an open platform could be deployed  to foster crowdsourcing of ideas and information, not only from the identified stakeholders, but also with civil society and new actors which may arise in this very dynamic environment. As part of the global coordination, an international Space Economy Board could be created composed by, for example, Space Agency executives, CEOs from traditional and New Space companies, Open Service Innovation experts, Economy ministers, representatives from international financing institutions and delegates from political bodies.

Posted by Paola Belingheri

This post is based on a paper presented at the 67th International Astronautical Congress