Service Innovation Alliance

The Service Innovation Alliance (SIA) brings together experts from different disciplines within UQ Business School to address these key business challenges. We help businesses to improve productivity, train and manage their workforce, measure and manage customer experience, explore new ideas and successfully introduce new technologies.

As one of the world’s leading service innovation groups, UQ Business School’s SIA offers a ‘one stop shop’ for research and training – encouraging debate, providing insights, educating leaders and informing the future of service organisations.

Our research is internationally recognised in the following three areas of excellence:

  • Customer Experience
  • Service Workers
  • Sustainable Service Innovation

Contact the Service Innovation Alliance

If you would like more information or to explore opportunities with the Service Innovation Alliance please contact:

Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy Founding Co-Lead


Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy
Founding Co-Lead, Professor of Marketing




Associate Professor Christoph Breidbach



Connect with us

Our reports

 Pathways to human and economic wellbeing White PaperDigital Service Transformation: Pathways to human and economic wellbeing White Paper (PDF, 12.2 MB)
The White Paper is the result of a Roundtable Summit held in 2022; an event that brought together industry representatives with academics to collaboratively identify key challenges and opportunities associated with the digital transformation of service. The White Paper outlines these, and provides important recommendations for policy and practice for how to best benefit from emerging digital technologies in service settings.



Thumbnail of the Research Hub Report 2022 coverResearch Hub 2022 report (PDF, 1.3 MB)
The SIA Research Hub brings together experts from six different disciplines (business information systems; international business; marketing; strategy and entrepreneurship; tourism; and management) within UQ Business School, industry partners across multiple service sectors, as well as international collaborators to address key challenges service businesses face.


Our Experts

The Service Innovation Alliance brings together experts from various disciplines within UQ Business School to address key business challenges.

The research expertise of our service researchers has already resulted in international recognition  (Ostrom et al., 2015)

The Service Innovation Alliance (SIA) is led by internationally recognised experts Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy (Marketing) and Associate Professor Christoph Breidbach (Business Information Systems).

Professor McColl-Kennedy is a Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute and leads several international teams comprised of members from the University of Cambridge, Karlstad University in Sweden, Cornell and Arizona State University, USA to name just a few. Learn more about new thinking on the future of services in collaboration with Professor McColl-Kennedy’s work at Cambridge Service Alliance.

Associate Professor Christoph Breidbach’s research interests addresses the fundamental question of how information technology transforms service ecosystems, and is positioned at the intersection of the Business Information Systems and Service Science disciplines.


The Service Innovation Alliance won the 2019 Research Team Engagement Award for outstanding achievement in research on 4 December 2019. Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy and Associate Professor Christoph Breidbach with former Dean and Head of School, Professor Michael Bruenig.

Professor Janet R. McColl-Kennedy – services marketing, customer value and customer experience management, health professions and retail.

Associate Professor Christoph Breidbach – technology transformation, service ecosystems, information systems and service science. 

Key researchers

Professor Damian Hine

Professor Marta Indulska – process improvement and modelling, data quality, retail and government services.

Professor Peter Popkowski-Leszczyc

Professor Brent W. Ritchie – risk and travel health/safety, sustainability, tourism and aviation.

Professor Lisa Ruhanen – responsible visitor behaviour,  sustainable tourism policy and planning, indigenous tourism.

Professor Martie-Louise Verreynne

Professor Ashish Sinha 

Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - the physical environment of work, workspace, open-plan offices, employee territoriality, conflict management, teams and leadership.

Professor Pierre Benckendorff – visitor behaviour, tourism information technologies, and tourism education and training.

Associate Professor Len Coote – quantitative marketing, business analytics, machine learning, data visualisation. 

Dr Nicole Hartley – services marketing, service technology and communication health, retail, tourism and not for profit.

Associate Professor Tim Kastelle – collaborative network structure, innovation performance and Evolution of national innovation systems.

Associate Professor Richard Robinson - workforce issues in hospitality and tourism, food tourism.

Professor David Solnet – service work/worker (attraction and retention, engagement, youth), service management, hospitality and tourism.

Associate Professor Gabby Walters – consumer behaviour, image and reputation management and recovery, hospitality and tourism.

Associate Professor Jay Weerawardena – services marketing, innovation and social impact, not for profit sector.

Dr Ivano Bongiovanni – managerial implications of information security and its repercussions in terms of governance and leadership, design thinking and design-led methods.

Dr Henri Burgers - corporate entrepreneurship, business model innovation, collaboration capabilities, creating entrepreneurial organisations.

Dr Srinwanti Chaudhury

Dr Teegan Green – services marketing, robots, telehealth, trust, healthcare and education.

Dr Sarel Gronum - SME growth and performance, business model design and innovation, innovation management and technology commercialisation.

Dr Ali Intezari Harsini – Organisational wisdom theory, strategic decision making, knowledge management, and business in Iran and the Middle East.

Dr Alexandra Kriz - ambidextrous innovation, early growth of the firm, Internationalising, technology-based SMEs, human-centred design, dynamic capabilities.

Dr Sam MacAulay  - How to create and capture value through innovation; business model innovation; the management of innovation in project-based organisations (e.g. infrastructure; engineering; construction; design; resources).

Dr Thomas Magor

Dr Josephine Previte – social change marketing; transformative service research; gendered consumption and social markets.

Dr Nicolas Pontes - consumer decision making, retailing, loyalty programs, and social media advertising.

Dr Felix Septianto

Dr Anne-Maree O'Rourke 

Dr Ida Asadi Someh – business analytics, big data and society, business value of IT.

Dr Frederik von Briel – digital entrepreneurship, digital innovation, value creation and firm growth.

Dr Jie Wang - risk reduction and communication in the service sector, organisational resilience, digital innovation in crises and disasters

Honorary members:

Professor Mark Dodgson – innovation in large, complex projects; the playful work of entrepreneurs; philanthropy and entrepreneurs; innovation in China; the future of the innovative university; and innovation the 18th century English pottery and textile industries.

Dr Kumar Rakesh Ranjan – process improvement and modelling, data quality, retail and government services.

Dr Claudia Gonzalez – marketing and sustainability, digital marketing and brand management, consumer culture.


Adjuct Professor Jenine Beekhuyzen OAM 

Adjunct Professor Tina Janamian 

PhD candidates:

Daniela Berg
Lars-Erik Casper Ferm
Claire Cunningham
Zhiming Deng
David Goyeneche Ramirez
Trevor Gormley
Rebecca Hamilton
Guanrong Liu
Shasha Liu
Yufan Liu
Jorge Fiestas Lopez Guido
Shahrzad Roohy Gohar
Silviana (Silvia) Tana
James (Jimmy) Tarbit
Li Xie-Carson
Hongmin (Jess) Yan

Postdoctoral researchers:

Dr Alexandria Gain
Dr Maria Golubovskaya
Dr Yawei Jiang 
Dr Zahra Tabaei Aghdaei

Professor Tor Wallin Andreassen

Before joining NHH Norwegian School of Economics in 2013, Dr Tor Wallin Andreassen was a professor of marketing, Department chair, and Associate Dean at BI Norwegian Business School.

At NHH he is Professor of Innovation, the Director of Center for Service Innovation (CSI), and a member of the school’s Board of Directors. Dr Andreassen holds a Sivilokonom degree from NHH, MSc in marketing (with honors) from BI, and a Doctor of Economics from Stockholm University, School of Business.

Professor Andreassen is a member of the editorial review board of MIT Sloan Management Review, Journal of Service Research, Journal of Business Research, Service Science, and Journal of Service Management. Dr Andreassen has published in leading journals such as: MIT Sloan Management Review, Marketing Science, and Journal of Marketing, Journal of Service Research in addition to publishing eight books.

Andreassen has received numerous awards for his academic research including the prestigious MSI/H. Paul Root Award 2007 (Journal of Marketing), Outstanding (Best) Paper Award (from Journal of Service Theory and Practice) and Highly Commended Article Award (from Journal of Service Management); Citation of Excellence - Highest Quality Rating (European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Service Management); Most Downloaded Article - Top 3 (Journal of Service Management) and Top 200 (Journal of Economic Psychology).

Dr Andreassen was elected Chair of INFORMS Service Science community and VP of Education and Professional Development at European Marketing Academy’s Executive Committee. Professor Andreassen is the founder of The Norwegian Customer Satisfaction Barometer (BI), the Norwegian Innovation Index (NHH), and the annual Professor Johan Arndt Marketing Conference. 

He has been a Visiting Professor at Vanderbilt University, USA, University of Maryland, USA, University of Queensland, Australia, and a visiting scholar at Stanford University and University of Maastricht, NL. He has received pedagogical education and training from Vanderbilt University and Harvard Business School.

Professor Ruth N. Bolton

International Visiting Professor Ruth N. Bolton from the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University joined UQ Business School in March 2019. Ruth is Professor of Marketing at the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.

She studies how organisations can improve business performance over time by creating, maintaining and enhancing relationships with customers. Her recent research has focused on the customer experience, multi-channel management and high technology, interactive services in global business-to-business markets.

Professor Bolton often conducts her research in partnership with businesses such as the Marriott Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Coherent Inc., The Cooperators, and Schneider National Inc.
She also spent eight years with Verizon, working on projects in the telecommunications and information services industries.

Ruth has published articles in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Service Research, Management Science, Marketing Science, and other leading journals. She received her B.Comm., with honours, from Queen's University (Canada), and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University. She has also participated in executive education programs around the world.

Professor Bolton previously held academic positions at Vanderbilt University, the University of Oklahoma, Harvard University, University of Maryland, and the University of Alberta, and served as 2009-11 Executive Director of the Marketing Science Institute.

She received the 2016 American Marketing Association / Irwin / McGraw-Hill Distinguished Marketing Educator Award, the 2007 Christopher Lovelock Career Contributions to Services Award and the Routledge – Taylor & Francis / SMA Distinguished Scholar Award. Awarded to only a select few marketing academics, these awards recognise distinguished service and sustained outstanding contributions to the field of marketing.

Ruth served as editor of the Journal of Marketing (2002-2005) and Area Editor of the Journal of Marketing Research (2005-2007), as well as serving on the Editorial Review Boards of other leading marketing journals. Professor Bolton has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Marketing Science Institute and the Board of Directors of the American Marketing Association. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Sheth Foundation as Vice-President.

Professor Michael Brady (Florida State University)

Michael (“Mike”) Brady is the Bob Sasser Professor and chair, Department of Marketing, at Florida State University.  He is also an affiliated faculty member or honorary professor at five other universities, including The University of Queensland, Australia, and UIBE, China.

Mike’s primary research interest lies at the intersection of customers and employees in frontline service transactions. He has published in many top scholarly journals, and his research articles have been cited over 20,000 times to date. He has won numerous awards, including the Christopher Lovelock Career Contributions to the Service Discipline Award, the M. Wayne Delozier, Robert Johnston, and Steven J. Shaw research awards, the Academy of Marketing Science outstanding teacher awards, and the William R. Jones award for mentoring minority doctoral students.

Mike is a past president of the American Marketing Association’s Academic Council, a current member of the AMA Board of Directors, and an Associate Editor for the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.  He is the current Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Service Research.

Emeritus Professor Rod Brodie (The University of Auckland)

Roderick J Brodie (PhD) is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Marketing at the University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand. His research and teaching experience is in the areas of marketing theory, strategy, branding and service research. He has consulted with a range of government and business areas of Strategy and Branding Marketing Analysis and acted as an expert witness in a number of landmark legal cases.

His publications have appeared in leading international journals including; Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Management Science, Journal of Service Research.  He is an associate editor of the Journal of Service Research and Marketing Theory and has served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Marketing, the International Journal of Research in Marketing, the Journal of Service Research, and the Australasian Journal of Marketing. He has been active in the development of marketing education in Australasia and internationally and in 1998 was the founding president of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC), in 2002 was presented with the ANZMAC Distinguished Researcher and in 2004 he was made one of the founding Fellows.

In 2011 he was elected as the 1st Southern hemisphere Fellow for the European Marketing Academy (EMAC). In 2004 he was recognised with the University of Auckland’s Business School’s Research Excellence Award for Sustained Research Performance. He has held visiting professorships at a number of leading US and European Business Schools. He is currently serving on the Royal Society Marsden Social Science Panel and has served the national PBRF panel Business and Economics.

Professor Anders Gustafsson (BI Norwegian Business School)

Anders Gustafsson is a Professor of Marketing at the Norwegian Business School. Dr. Gustafsson is conducting research on customer satisfaction and loyalty, management of customer relationships, and consumer behavior. His research focus now is staging and understanding customer experiences (eg. acts of firms, impact of customer emotions, goals, and various senses, but also ways to capture the latter using objective measures).

He is the current editor in chief for Journal of Business Research and an area editor of Journal of Service Research. Dr Gustafsson is also Distinguished Professorial Fellow at the University of Manchester’s Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) and a Global Faculty member at Arizona State University (ASU). He is also the first international president for AMA’s (American Marketing Association) academic council and a recipient of the Christopher Lovelock Career Contributions to the Services Discipline Award. 

Dr. Gustafsson has published articles in journals such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Service Research, Journal of Business Research, and Journal of Product Innovation Management. Dr. Gustafsson is also an author of 12 books; some are translated into multiple languages.

Professor Paul Maglio (University of California)

Paul P. Maglio is a Professor of Management and Cognitive Science at the University of California, Merced. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego. One of the founders of the field of Service Science, Dr Maglio was the Editor-in-Chief of INFORMS Service Science (2012-2018), and lead editor of the Handbook of Service Science (Volume I was published in 2010, and Volume II, 2019).

He has published more than 125 papers in computer science, cognitive science, and service science.Paul P. Maglio is a Professor of Management and Cognitive Science at the University of California, Merced. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego. One of the founders of the field of Service Science, Dr Maglio was the Editor-in-Chief of INFORMS Service Science (2012-2018), and lead editor of the Handbook of Service Science (Volume I was published in 2010, and Volume II, 2019). He has published more than 125 papers in computer science, cognitive science, and service science.

Professor Andi Smart (University of Exeter)

Professor Andi Smart is Professor of Operations & Process Management and Director of the Centre for Simulation, Analytics and Modelling (CSAM). Andi Smart joined Exeter in 1998. 

He previously led the Centre for Innovation and Service Research (ISR), the Organisations in Transition (OiT) research cluster, and has served as the Head of Management Studies within the Business School. His external duties have included: Co-Editor of the International Journal of Operations and Production Management (2009 – 2013); External Examiner for Glasgow University (2007- 2011); Board Member of the European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) (2007 – 2011). During his term with EurOMA Andi founded the Service Operations Management (SOM) Forum. Andi has also previously served as an Advanced Institute of Management (AIM) Scholar.

Professor Smart’s research interest is in the design and improvement of operational systems. He is currently leading a €7.8m Interreg project (VISTA AR) to design systems that enhance visitor experiences at cultural heritage sites. This project uses advanced technologies such as eye-tracking, geospatial positioning and text analytics to obtain visitor intelligence. This data, combined with demographic and psychographic data, is used to inform business model innovation and the design of virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies. The project aims to identify relationships between immersive (AR/VR) technology, visitor profiles, and visitor experience to inform system design. System implementation (and longitudinal study) will take place at: Exeter Cathedral; Fougeres Castle; The National Trust (Tin Coast); South West Coast Path; Underwater Museum in Lorient; and the Gardens of Valloires.

In addition to the VISTA AR project Andi has recently completed projects on Patient Experience in healthcare, a project entitled ReGroup (with the Medical School) modelling the future workforce in General Practice, and a study focused on business model innovation in mobile payments. He has an interest in exploring system design for Next Generation Services and also has an interest in systems for social innovation; combining 

Associate Professor John Steen (University of British Colombia)

John Steen is the EY Distinguished Scholar in Global Mining Futures at the University of British Columbia and strategy director for the Bradshaw Research Initiative in Minerals and Mining (BRIMM). John is currently leading major international research studies on the subject of innovation and sustainable development in the resources sector and in developing economies. This includes the transition to new digital business models, technology ecosystems and performance in megacapital ($1billion +) projects. John is highly sought-after as a guest speaker and commentator and has given talks on strategy and innovation to businesses and governments in Australia, the Americas, Asia and Europe. John is currently senior editor for the Project Management Journal – the research journal of the Project Management Institute.

Professor Lars Witell (Linkoping University, Sweden)

Dr Lars Witell, is Professor at the Service Research Center (CTF) at Karlstad University, Sweden. He also holds a position as Professor in Business Administration at Linköping University, Sweden. He conducts research on service innovation and customer experience and has received several nominations and rewards for his research. 

Lars has been published in scholarly journals such as Journal of Service Research, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Industrial Marketing Management, and Journal of Business Research; as well as in the popular press, such as The Wall Street Journal. Lars has also been a visiting professor at UQ Business School, Chalmers University of Technology and Queen Mary University of London, as well as visiting scholar at University of Michigan and Stanford University

Professor Mohamed Zaki (University of Cambridge)

Professor Mohamed Zaki is the Deputy Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance at the University of Cambridge, a research centre that brings together the world’s leading firms and academics to address service challenges.

Mohamed’s research interests lie in the field of machine learning and its application to Digital Manufacturing and services. He uses an interdisciplinary approach of data science techniques to address a range of real organizations’ problems such as measuring and managing customer experience and customer loyalty. Other research interests include digital service transformation strategy and data-driven business models.
Mohamed’s research has been published in highly-ranked journals, Journal of Service Research, Journal Service Management, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, PloS ONE, Journal of Production Planning & Control, Journal of Services Marketing as well as an edited book, book chapters and many conference articles. 

Mohamed raised over £5 million from research council and industry to fund his research. Mohamed is a principle investigator, research manager and co-investigator in many UK research council projects (e.g. EPSRC, ESRC and Innovate UK) and industrial research projects sponsored by international organisations such as IBM, BAE Systems, Caterpillar, Rolls-Royce, Zoetis, Pearson, CEMEX, PWC and HCL technologies.
He is a recipient of international awards (2016 and 2017) from the Marketing Science Institute on customer experience analytics and digital customer initiatives. Also, he is a recipient of the 2019 Robert Johnston Award for Highly Commended Paper from Journal of Service Management, 2018 Highly Commended paper Award from Journal of Services Marketing, 2017 British Academy of Management Best Development Paper Award, 2015 runner-up for the AMA Best Services Article, 2015 one of four finalists Journal of Service Research Best Article Award.

Our Research

UQ Business School is a world leader in service research. With a strong team of academics actively engaged in services projects, few institutions can rival the breadth of our work.

UQ Business School’s research in service innovation is recognised internationally not only for the quality of our work, but for its practical application to businesses.  

Our research helps service organisations to improve productivity, train and manage their workforce, measure and manage customer experience, explore new ideas and successfully introduce new technologies.

"We work on solving problems for our members and customers, and by adding the thought leadership from an academic perspective, it reinforces the solutions we go ahead with to get much better results." 
​Melissa Witheriff from Avanade Australia

The SIA aligns with The University of Queensland’s research strengths in healthy ageing, technology for tomorrow, and transforming societies. We work with a diverse scope of government and industry partners including visitor attractions, hotels, resorts and service providers worldwide.The research theme is underpinned by three interconnected areas of focus; customer experience, service workforce and service innovation.

SIA Co Lead, Associate Professor Christoph Breidbach, with SIA researcher Dr Alexandra Kriz and Terrence Teh from Pitcher Partners discussing the positive outcomes from industry and academic collaborations. 

Customer Experience

Customer experience research looks to understand customer needs, emerging markets, experience co-creation and design. It also has an important focus on technology trends, including understanding customer responses to service robots, artificial intelligence, machine learning and addresses digital privacy issues.

SIA Leader, Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy's recent paper Gaining Customer Experience Insights That Matter explores customer experience in a business-to-business setting. Read her interview delving into the motivation and impact of this research.

Professor McColl-Kennedy also recently published an aricle titled Customer experience management is listed in the top ten priorities of CEOs around the globe in Research News Live.

Service Workers

Service workforce focuses on understanding future labour market challenges, such as future workforce skills and the impacts of automation, mobile technologies and self-service technology, productivity and emerging changes in employee-organisational relationships.

PhD student presents submission to Australian National Youth Commission Hearing

Service Innovation Alliance PhD representative and Associate Lecturer in Tourism, Ms Maria Golubovskaya represented The University of Queensland Business School at the National Youth Commission Hearing into Youth Employment and Transitions. The Brisbane Commission, at which Ms Golubovskaya presented, was chaired by notable representatives including Major David Eldridge AM and Dr May Lam. 

Continue reading

On the future of work: in conversation with Dominic Barton, 2019 Rodney Wylie eminent visiting fellow

What will the future of work look like post the fourth industrial revolution? This question was a guiding principle underlining roundtable held recently at The University of Queensland on Friday 2 August with 2019 Rodney Wylie visiting fellow, Mr Dominic Barton.

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Service Innovation

Service innovation explores service model design, measurement of service outcomes and digital technologies. We help service organisations to understand and implement technology trends, including how customers respond to robots and using big data to personalise their services.

Co-Lead Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy recently presented as one of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) Fellows at a Special “Fellows session” to mark the 20th birthday of the Academy, held in Adelaide. You can find her slides on Service Research – past 20 years'  and the big topics for the next 20 years here.

Women in Cyber: Exploring the barriers, redesigning the profession

Published March 2023 by Dr Ivano Bongiovanni and Megan Gale

Two women bumping fists in front of computer screens at work.

By engaging with women in cybersecurity and hiring managers at different career levels, this project identified challenges that women are currently facing in entering, progressing, and remaining in cybersecurity. Participants proposed practical solutions to those challenges.

Read more

Service Research Priorities: Managing and Delivering Service in Turbulent Time 

Published July 2021 by Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy 

 Managing and Delivering Service in Turbulent time

The world-at-large and services, in particular, are experiencing tectonic shifts and need to evolve to be robust again such turbulence. We examine priorities related to significant world changes that urgently require attention. 

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Six ways for deep tech firms to improve their chance of success

Published April 2020 by Dr Alexandra Kriz

Game-changing technologies offer huge benefits for society, such as a vaccine for COVID-19, but bringing them to market can be a long and arduous journey. New research suggests ways to overcome the barriers.

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Cocreating the tourism experience – why cocreation matters for tourism

Published September 2019 by Dr Kumar (Rakesh) Ranjan

Creating memorable tourism experiences is the key to a tourism firm’s ability to attract and retain customers. Learn why cocreation matters for tourism.

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Building service innovation capabilities: What’s often overlooked?

Published September 2019 by Associate Professor Jay Weerawardena and Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy

Companies that perform best, particularly at service innovation, not only rely on the traditional sources of customer and competitor knowledge, but also focus on broadening and reinforcing their capabilities base. We uncover a 7 point plan for executives. 

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Commercialising new-to-world innovations: An uncertain stakeholder co-creation journey

Published September 2019 by Dr Alexandra Kriz

There is an assumption that in order to internationalise, firms simply sell existing products and services, and offer value propositions abroad. But for deep tech firms developing new-to-world innovations, they often do not yet have a product and/or service that is ready to ‘sell’ internationally. Here are three lessons for managers of deep tech firms. 

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Gaining customer experience insights that matter

Published July 2019 by Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy

Customer experience (CX) management is listed in the top ten priorities of CEOs around the globe, but do firms know how to measure CX and use the data correctly to enhance the customer experience? We uncover new research and provide a 7 point plan on what matters to customers and what actions are needed by managers.

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Connecting the digital, physical and social realms of customer experience

Published July 2019 by Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy

In the near future, AI, robots and VR will be a completely normal part of the customer experience. How will this impact business and what do service providers need to do to prepare for new digital technologies.

Learn more

Webinar Recordings

Check out more webinar recordings

Our Projects

UQ Business School undertakes innovative, timely and high-quality projects across a range of disciplines to transform the future of service organisations.

2016 – 2018 Modelling Multidimensional Multiparty Decisions to Improve Outcomes for Customers and Service Providers: New Theory and Measurement Tools.

ARC Discovery Grant: $330 000.

Researchers: Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy (Lead), Assoc. Professor Len Coote, Professor Claire Wainwright, (UQ Medical School) Professor Scott Bell (UQ Medical School), Professor Michael Brady – Florida State University.

2015 – 2018 Examining the Effectiveness of Patient-centred Practices on Health Outcomes.

ARC Linkage Grant: $1.1 million including $180 000 from ARC.

Researchers: Professor Pennie Frow – University of Sydney (Lead), Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy – UQ Business School, Professor Adrian Payne – UNSW, Dr Rahul Govind – UNSW.

2017 – 2021 Protecting international tourists from harm: Developing an effective tourist hazard information system.

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (ARC Equivalent in Japan). Kaken Scientific Research B Grant in Aid: $2.9 million Yen (AU$205 000).

Researchers: Professor Brent Ritchie, Takahashi Yoshino, Kade Sano, Hayato Nagai.

2015 – 2018 Consumer preferences for voluntary carbon mitigation in the aviation sector.

ARC Discovery Grant $186 400.

Researchers: Professor Brent Ritchie, Professor Stefan Gossling, Professor Larry Dwyer.

2016 – 2019 Encouraging voluntary purchasing of carbon offsets - a win-win.

ARC Linkage Grant $160  000 +$40 000 from partners.  

Researchers: Professor Brent Ritchie and Professor Sara Dolnicar.

2016 – 2018: Learning Tourism Destinations: Creating Functional Partnerships and Initiating Positive Change for Sustainable Tourism Development in Local Economies.

Value PESO$1.5 million – through Asian Institute of Tourism, University of the Philippines.

2018 – 2019 Development of an active video game for the long-term maintenance of exercise in people with COPD.

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences-Metro North Hospital and Health Services (CISSS) Research Collaboration Seeding Grant $39 535.

Researchers: Professor Trevor Russell Ms Jennie Money (MNHHS), Dr Nicole Hartley and Dr Allison Mandrusiak.

2017 – 2020 Home telehealth adoption in the aging population: Consumer perspectives.

NHMRC Project Grant 2017 2017-2020 $252 000.

Researchers: T Russell, N Gillespie, N Hartley, D Theodoros, A Hill & L Gray.

2017 – 2010: An investigation of the effects of education on data quality perceptions and data quality.

Mater Medical Research Institute Limited.

Researchers: Shazia Sadiq and Marta Indulska.

2016 – 2018: The Open Innovation Process: Factors and Technologies that Matter.

ARC Discovery Projects $330 000.

Researchers: Marta Indulska, Professor Martie-Louise Verreynne, John Steen.

2016-2019: Youth employment in hospitality and tourism: impacts, effects and legacy of early employment experiences.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council $66 000.

Researchers: Professor David Solnet and Richard Robinson.

2018 – 19  Enhancing the student experience within dual program courses: meeting the challenge of the new Bachelor of Advanced Business (honours) program.

UQ teaching fellowship grant $50 000.

Researcher: Dr Alistair Tombs.

2017 – 2018 Role of permanent and transitional servicescapes in maintaining attachment to place in light of the Canterbury earthquakes

University of Canterbury (NZ) team based research initiative $19 756.

Researchers: J Finsterwalder, A Tombs, C Chen, M Hall & G Prayag).

2017-2022: ARC Training Centre for Innovation in Biomedical Imaging Technology. ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres. Part of a team of 10 people.

2017-2018: Creating wealth in smallholders farms through efficient credit systems in Pakistan.

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Researchers: Associate Professor John Steen, Dr Shabbir Ahmad and Professor Martie-Louise Verreynne.

2016-2018: The Open Innovation Process: Factors and Technologies that Matter.

ARC Discovery Projects $330 000/

Researchers: Professor Marta Indulska, Professor Martie-Louise Verreynne, Associate Professor John Steen.

Our Programs

Today’s leaders are faced with a fast-changing business landscape, challenged with digital disruption, artificial intelligence and constant consumer shifts. Stay ahead with a program designed to innovate the way you manage and deliver service.

The Master of Leadership in Service Innovation is a new online program designed to professionally challenge and develop students into exemplary leaders at the front of cutting-edge service practices including innovation, science and management. View webinars associated with the program. 

The UQ Business School partnered with international learning platform edX to deliver this online master’s degree to students around the world – with full access to UQ student support. 

Today’s business environment is changing rapidly. Digital disruption, automation, artificial intelligence, socio-demographic changes, and geopolitical shifts are just some of the factors that make managing challenging – not just for businesses, but also for public sector and not-for-profit organisations.

This program adopts a cross-disciplinary perspective aimed at developing the transformational mindset needed for leaders in a rapidly changing world. It combines two critical challenges facing managers in the fast-evolving world of business.

The first challenge the course prepares leaders for is the move to a service and experience-based economy. In this growing economy, it is vital that businesses and leaders embed a culture of customer experience, value co-creation and change. These elements are facilitated by the second challenge – embedding a culture of continuous innovation that enables organisations to execute new ideas, to create value for all stakeholders.

The master’s program blends research and best practice in business leadership, innovation, service science, service management, and experience design. Through these areas, the course develops transformative organisational and leadership capabilities which will enable managers to thrive in business landscapes, both in the current climate and the future.

The Master of Leadership in Service Innovation systematically takes participants on a journey starting with the economic changes from product-based value to today’s experience-based model. It then works through all foundational aspects to ensure leaders are prepared for the future by equipping them with organisational resilience and adaptability to change.

Find out more

Start with the MicroMasters® Program

If you'd like to get a feel for the Master's program before you apply, start with the Business Leadership MicoMasters from The University of Queensland.

This MicroMasters program can also count as 8 of the 24 credit units required for the Master's Degree in Leadership in Service Innovation from The University of Queensland if you apply and are accepted into the program.

  • Courses in the MicroMasters program may count towards credit
  • Designed to advance your career and professional skillset
  • Strengthen your Master's application
  • Recognised by employers for real-life relevance

MicroMasters programs are offered by edX in connection with its university partners.

Our News

Greetings from Renmin University

David Goyeneche Ramirez at Renmin University

David Goyeneche attended the Frontier and Innovation International Conference for Ph.D. Students at Renmin University in Beijing to present his PhD work. Sharing the podium with fellow students from top institutions such as Princeton University, Oxford University, Renmin University of China, the University of Liverpool, and Peking University was an inspiring experience. Together, they engaged in invigorating discussions about the future of humanity with AI as a companion, exploring various contexts and approaches. The conference also provided a platform to share the Digital Service Transformation White Paper and discuss our collaborative efforts at The Service Innovation Alliance (SIA). 

National Industry PhD Program Grant 

image of city landscape with sustainable and digital icons

Associate Professor Christoph Breidbach and industry partner Appeggio successfully secured an inaugural National Industry PhD Program grant. Their $207,000 project ‘Building Digital Resilience for the Climate Crisis’ was the only information systems project awarded nationally, and will enable A/Professor Breidbach and Appeggio to support Australian businesses in developing the digital services needed to adapt to the challenges of climate change and promote environmental sustainability.

SIA researchers present keynote panels at QUIS 18

1.	Professors Janet McColl-Kennedy and David Solnet at the QUIS 18 event.

Professors Janet McColl-Kennedy and David Solnet presented on keynote panels at QUIS 18, one of the top conferences in the service management/marketing field, held every two years. Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy’s keynote panel discussed the Changing Role of Technology in Services and highlights from SIA’s recent White Paper, ‘Digital Service Transformation – Pathways to human and economic wellbeing.’ Professor David Solnet presented a keynote panel address on the Future of Service Education and promoted the white paper’s policy recommendations.

ProfessorMcColl-Kennedy receives Industry Impact award

Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy being awarded the Bo Edvardsson Industry Impact in Services award

Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy was awarded the prestigious Bo Edvardsson Industry Impact in Services award.

This award has been created to honour a service scholar who has made a significant impact to service practice through their research, teaching and/or outreach efforts. All service scholars are eligible for consideration for this award.

Service Innovation Alliance - industry collaboration 

SIA Co Lead, Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy with industry partner, Melissa Withereff from Avanade Australia (formally CUA).

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Using AI to understand customer experiences

Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy, Professor Andy Neely and Professor Mohamed Zaki discuss their AI-driven approach that can be used as a model to analyse customer feedback and better understand customer feelings.

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Why did the price of Bitcoin rise? the impact of social collectives

Bitcoin on the rise

Canstar interviewed Dr Christoph Breidbach about why the price for Bitcoin has been rising and the impact of social collectives.

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From Gamestop to crypto: How people power is shaping the future of financial service

Mobile phone with Gamestop logo

There is a financial revolution brewing, one that could lay waste to a system that existed for centuries and replace it with a new democracy; Associate Professor Christoph Breidbach discusses how people power is shaping the future of financial services. 

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How travellers respond to crises and disasters and what tourism can do to minimise cancellations

How travellers respond to crises

Gabby Walters is an expert in crisis and disaster recovery marketing. In this “Good Tourism” Insight, Dr Walters shares some of what she knows about traveller concerns during and after a disruptive event and what travel & tourism stakeholders can do to mitigate losses and bounce back strongly.

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The future of services: A human perspective?

Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy facilitated the SERVSIG 2020 keynote on “The future of services: A human perspective” on Tuesday 15 September providing an overview of the future of service highlighting key challenges going forward. These included: providing seamless/frictionless service experiences; blurring of the lines between the providers and customers and between machines and humans; providing authentic experiences; really understanding diversity among customers and frontline service providers as well as recognising unconscious biases (not thinking solely from a western perspective); who gets access to services (“haves” and “have nots”) and the involvement of customers in different forms of interactions and levels of activities.

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Tourism expert finds good news for domestic Australian tourism amid the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s good news for the domestic tourism industry, according to The University of Queensland Business School tourism expert, and member of the Service Innovation Alliance, Associate Professor Gabby Walters.

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Association for Information Systems Special Interest Group ‘Services’ wins Prestigious Award

The Association for Information Systems (AIS) has named the Special Interest Group (SIG) ‘Services’ as an outstanding SIG for the year 2019 – the fourth year in a row!

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Research impact in focus for Business School academics

The need for research to have an application that meaningfully impacts business or community was on the agenda recently for a government-influencing workshop hosted at The University of Queensland (UQ) Business School.

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PhD student presents submission to Australian National Youth Commission Hearing

Service Innovation Alliance PhD representative and Associate Lecturer in Tourism, Ms Maria Golubovskaya represented The University of Queensland Business School at the National Youth Commission Hearing into Youth Employment and Transitions. The Brisbane Commission, at which Ms Golubovskaya presented, was chaired by notable representatives including Major David Eldridge AM and Dr May Lam. 

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On the future of work: in conversation with Dominic Barton, 2019 Rodney Wylie eminent visiting fellow

What will the future of work look like post the fourth industrial revolution? This question was a guiding principle underlining roundtable held recently at The University of Queensland on Friday 2 August with 2019 Rodney Wylie visiting fellow, Mr Dominic Barton.

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New Industry Advisory Board paves the way for digital disruption in the service sector

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and technology on customer experience is a key focus for the newly-formed Industry Advisory Board from The University of Queensland (UQ) Business School.

The board brings together partners from private and public sectors who recently held their first meeting with top UQ academics from the Service Innovation Alliance – an interdisciplinary research arm of the Business School.

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Paper on Customer Experience Challenges Wins Prestigious Award


Service Innovation Alliance Leader, Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy has received the Robert Johnston Highly Commended Paper award of 2018 from the Journal of Service Management Editorial Review Board.

Professor McColl-Kennedy and her co-authors were given the award for their remarkable paper on 'Customer Experience Challenges: Bringing Together Digital, Physical and Social Realms'.

Read more on the paper here:


Associate Professor Gabby Walters featured in the Huon Valley News

When disaster strikes: tourism expert weighs in on disasters and crisis recovery management

When it comes to tourism and crisis recovery, Associate Professor Gabby Walters is one of our resident experts.  When disaster strikes, understanding the impact this event has had on the tourism market is crucial to a destination’s recovery efforts.

The University of Queensland Business School’s Associate Professor Gabby Walters, a tourism academic with the Service Innovation Alliance Interdisciplinary Research Theme was featured in an expert interview on ABC Radio Hobart on Thursday 16 May 2019. Speaking about how tourists respond and how the market is feeling in the wake of natural disaster, Dr Walters cited examples of natural disasters including floods and fire in Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria.

So what was the likely impact of the Huon Valley fires on Tasmania’s tourism industry?

“Tasmania is in a good position for recovery for a number of reasons. First, the media coverage of this event in other states was minimal, hence the reputational damage that often occurs through extensive media attention was not such an issue for the region. Second, Tasmania has such a diverse array of culinary and nature based attractions that will keep tourists coming to the state” says Dr Walters.

The Huon Valley, however, needs to focus on recovery efforts while providing regular updates to their tourism market on the status of the destination, the specific areas that were affected, what is open for business and when the community are ready to welcome them back. In the short term, the Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) market and those that have a connection with the region through past visitation will be a viable market source.  

Speaking at the community fire recovery forum at the Southern Tasmanian Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, Dr Walters noted that “The Huon Valley could really benefit from the formation of a crisis planning committee comprising of representatives from tourism, emergency services, local and state government and the media. This platform will allow for the sharing of information and lessons learned from previous events and allow stakeholders to develop a collaborative crisis response strategy should the region experience a similar event”. 

Dr Walters and her colleague Associate Professor Judith Mair are pleased to announce the imminent release of their book titled “Image and Reputation Management for the Tourism Industry” published by UK based Goodfellow publications. A link will be available via the SIA Website.

The UQ Business School Research Laboratory

Rapid technological advancements are not only changing the way that services industries conduct their business, technology is also providing significant opportunities for researchers. The Service Innovation Alliance Research Team has exclusive access to the UQ Business School Research Laboratory. Administered by SIA team member Associate Professor Gabby Walters, the research laboratory allows us to conduct innovative and quality research across multiple fields relevant to the service sectors as opposed to (or in addition to) traditional survey methods. Our lab equipment and potential applications include:

Eye-Tracking Technology that identifies how people interact with stimuli, the features that capture viewers’ attention and how they navigate their way around the stimuli.

Psycho-physiological measures of emotion including Skin Conductance Measures; Facial Electromyography; Heart Rate Monitor and Facial Emotions Recognition software allows us to measure the impact of certain events, scenarios and other forms of stimuli on people’s emotions. This equipment captures the intensity of real time emotions and determines the nature of emotion the participant is experiencing. This data can be collected within a lab setting or in the field.

Electroencephalogram or EEG allows researchers to capture, visualise and export raw EEG signals and frontal lobe asymmetry output. This data can allow for the assessment of motivation, engagement, relaxation, excitement, interest (avoid vs approach) and stress and is highly useful for the study of actual versus intended behaviour and cognitive workload.

Virtual Reality Technology. Our VR technology can immerse respondents into simulated environments that represent a variety of contexts or situations. This allows us to assess likely responses to multiple scenarios in a controlled lab setting and minimizes the risk of interference from other variables or activities that may occur if the research were to be undertaken in the field.

Our lab is equipped with iMotions technology which is the only software in the world that can synchronise data collected from all of the above devices. This enables the analysis of emotive and cognitive responses to a variety of service scenarios across many contexts.

In the media

Renee Davidson - General Manager Marketing, Consumer Division, Allianz Australia Insurance

Renee Davidson headshot Renee is a strategic leader with over 2 decades marketing experience leading teams to deliver brand and organisational growth. Working on leading brands across Australia and the UK including RACQ, Commonwealth Bank, BT Financial Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and ANZ.

Renee holds a Master of Business and is Queensland Patron of AMI, leads the Queensland AMI Marketing Team of the Year and has recently been recognised in the CMO Top50 2019 list.


Chloe Henry, Chief Client Officer, Anglicare Southern Queensland

As a senior leader with over ten years’ of experience, Chloe has developed customer strategies that have transformed the experience for consumers across a broad range of industries.


Lisa Jenkinson - Director, Innovation, Digital & Data (Qld), KPMG

Lisa is a Director and leads KPMG Queensland’s Digital Delta practice.  Lisa works with startups, SMEs, corporates and Government to design, plan and implement high-tech, high-growth business models. Lisa has designed and delivered a number of ‘scale-up’ accelerator programs to the mining, energy and natural resources sectors as well as the food and beverage sector, both in Queensland and nationally.  She has worked with 50+ scale-ups to help them commercialise their solutions and raise investment.  Prior to KPMG, Lisa has spent the past decade within the technology innovation and commercialisation spectrum, assisting the founders of start-ups and ASX listed companies in the Power & Utilities and Renewables sector to commercialise their technologies and disruptive business models.


Terrence Teh - Director and Head of Strategy and Digital, Pitcher Partners

Terrence is the leader of the Strategy Consulting practice for Pitcher Partners. He has extensive experience and expertise in helping design and craft growth strategies for corporate and private businesses. His experience has seen him advise clients across different industries, and across Asia Pacific and Western Europe. He has a strong interest in bringing emerging and innovative use of digital technologies into businesses, especially when it redefines competitive advantage. He also believes in greater collaboration between businesses and educational institutes to accelerate the use of academic insights into the business world.


Jason Titman - Director, integr8

Jason has been a key driver in companies that have created over $300+ million in value and exits for business partners, shareholders and founders.  Jason is someone who deeply understands the critical importance of culture, mission, product, brand and execution required to build a truly successful and highly valued company.  He sees his life not as a 'career' but rather as a series of 'projects' to work with investors, founders and Boards to scale companies.

An Executive and Board member who has extensive experience undertaking digital transformations, organisational restructures and is passionate about improving how organisations can personalise their automated interactions  with their customers.


Alex Twigg - CEO, Shift Happens Group

Born in the UK, Alex started his 30 year banking career with the National Westminster Bank and then the Coventry Building Society before getting involved in his first digital bank, in the late 90’s.  Along with the Egg Technology team, Alex was a pioneer of Agile development and moved to the US in 2005, to start a consultancy career helping many of the large North American banks to adopt Agile and enhance their digital customer engagement.

In 2008 Alex brought his family to Australia to help launch UBank, the National Australia’s direct bank, becoming the CEO in 2010 and leading the business to become recognized as one of the most innovative banks in the world and being awarded Australian Direct Institution of the Year for three consecutive years 2012,13 and 14. 

A member of a small club who have been involved in the creation of three new banks, Alex was one of the cofounders of Judo Bank.  Founded in 2016 Judo Bank is a dedicated SME bank that has led the charge for neo banking in Australia, raising over $500m in capital and being named as #33 of all the global Fintechs. 

Alex is now the CEO at Shift Happens Group.


Melissa Witheriff- Director, Regional Innovation Lead, Avanade Australia

As a curious innovator, Melissa has found her calling in connecting people, ideas and opportunities to create value exchange. 

She is a big picture thinker and if there is a better, more efficient or more engaging way to do something, she will be the first one off the blocks. Challenging the status quo is a favourite pastime and she is always on the lookout for opportunities to learn, grow, achieve and excel.

Melissa is focused on addressing problems worth solving working with the startup community accelerating ideas into commercial opportunities. Sometimes this means daring to be different and pushing the boundaries relative to the business environment. Coupled with the right balance of research, planning and strategic intent, Melissa believes appetite for managed risk can equal reward for customers, partners and the organisation.

With extensive experience in the commercial, government and NFP sectors, Melissa has a strong track record in emerging technology such as AI and Machine Learning, business model innovation, human centered design, fintech/startup investment and accelerator programs, cultural change, portfolio change management and leading business and people transitions.


Oriana Wyrozebska- General Manager, Tourism & Investment, Moreton Bay Region Industry & Tourism (MBRIT) 

As the Senior Manager, Investment Attraction (Tourism Infrastructure) Oriana is responsible for attracting hotel investment and development projects to the Brisbane region, developing and implementing business development programs, liaising with public and private sector allies, and working closely on strategy development and business planning.

Oriana is a dynamic and innovative hotel property professional with a proven track record of achievements within investment and advisory projects globally in both the private and public sector. Oriana has honed in her negotiation and strategic advisory skills and the ability to forge strong client and stakeholder relationships. Oriana is an experienced project manager, with the ability to creatively facilitate and execute investments deals that add to the bottom line and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes to stakeholders.

Past events

Digital Service Transformation: Pathways to Human and Economic Wellbeing

Seventy per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) stems from services, and four out of five Australians are employed in the service sector. While services have always relied on Information Technologies (IT) to varying extents, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased the speed and trajectory of digital transformation in the service sector.

To remain competitive in a post-pandemic global economy, Australian service firms need to refine existing customer experiences and create service innovations, all while simultaneously managing their workforce throughout the ‘new normal’ imposed on them by COVID-19 and emerging digital technologies.

The white paper is the result of a Roundtable Summit held in 2022; an event that brought together industry representatives with academics to collaboratively identify key challenges and opportunities associated with the digital transformation of service. The report outlines these, and provides important recommendations for policy and practice for how to best benefit from emerging digital technologies in service settings.

 Pathways to human and economic wellbeing White Paper  (PDF, 12.2 MB)





Service Innovation Alliance Roundtable Summit

The annual Service Innovation Alliance Roundtable Summit will explore 'Digital Service Transformation: Future Trends and Opportunities'. Hear from two international keynote speakers, Professor Tor Andreassen and Professor Paul Magilo. Following the keynote presentations, we will break into seven topical areas for deeper brainstorming and discussion. The table discussions will contribute to a white paper, welcoming participant insights to form a comprehensive overview.