The new - innovative and technological - stage of Frontiers in Service.
Prof. Jos Lemmink, who organized the first Frontiers in Maastricht, is reflecting on the past experience and is looking forward to the new - innovative and technological - stage of Frontiers in Service.
In the nineties, we were organizing a series of ten workshops on Quality Management in Services: ten cities across Europe and collaborations with colleagues from, e.g., Ingolstadt, Helsinki, Paris Madrid and Birmingham. We had around 80 participants per year and published four books on the theme (Sage Publications). Quality as a theme was "hot" - it was only a matter of time before we participated in the first conferences organized by Steve Brown and Mary Jo Bitner at Arizona State University and later Roland Rust's Frontiers in Services at Vanderbilt University.
At the same time, we developed strength in services marketing at our department, and soon a more significant number of faculty and Ph.D. students were involved. In 2002 we felt honored to be asked to organize the first Frontiers conference outside the US. Our department went full speed ahead, and many of us contributed actively to developing the services field. Who does not remember the conference event in the sandstone caves?
Next year a new generation of services marketing will take the stand. Lisa Bruggen and Dominik Mahr are featuring Frontiers in Services. Robots and transformative services have replaced the quality theme on the conference's agenda. Such change reflects societal developments, as should be the case. We may soon face newer challenges. Take a closer look at the newspapers, and it's not difficult to imagine that innovations in supply chains, artificial intelligence, and energy markets will be the talk of the town. We need to address these challenges and not solely rely on the academic progress of themes and topics studied and published in the past thirty years. When we introduced the first workshop on innovations in services as a successor of the quality management theme in 2000, only a few colleagues showed up. Then, arguments were that quality management in services was the name of the game. Now - there is no doubt that the game has changed. I hope that next year we will receive impactful contributions. It's high time for that.
We look forward to seeing you all in Maastricht: to welcome you to the incredible city and work together on issues that matter.