The letter to the forum co-creators from Evert...
Dear participants of the Naples Forum on Service,
The Naples Forum on Service was established in 2009. I first met Cristina Mele in Brussels and she invited me to give seminars in Naples. Francesco Polese I met in Valencia and he also came to Sweden. They did not know each other although they both grew up in Naples. I took on the role of “academic matchmaker" saying that next time I come to Naples I suggest you two invite me togther.
I have been particularly involved in QUIS, ICRM and the Naples Forum. Ischia I have found to be a paradise on earth. I am sorry that my fatigue syndrome makes it difficult for me to come. I got it finishing the book Case Theory in Business and Management (Sage, 2017). It took seven years to write and the script became 600 pages but I finally managed to condense it to 368 pages. It is highly relevant for service research. It is also highly critical to the lack of realism in most quantitative research which reduces our complex society by excluding the difficult variables, and claiming they do “rigourous research". I call it rigid or ritualistic. Quant and qual should not be opposites and not be treated as overriding dimensions; they are only dimensions or properties among so many others.
I probably know at least half of you who are lucky to be on Ischia right now. Some of you have been very loyal and kept coming back, but we also get newcomers. We need you both; it is the personal interaction during the Naples Forum, facilitated by the presentations and by coffee breaks, lunches, dinners and social events, scholars can make friends and continue to build their networks that drive the three Forum themes ahead. Intially we planned the Forum for 60 participant. The reason was that I have found that when you become too big, the social interaction goes down. The first time we were late to announce it but we got over 200 abstracts for presentations! We then decided to set the goal for 150 delegates. And we have kept that.
The venue, the Naples Bay, gives us endless opportunities to offer inspiring environments. Many of you bring your families here and add a holiday before or after the Forum. And early June is the best time: warm but not too hot, no rain, and the tourist invasion is yet to come.
I would like to thank Cristina and Francesco for their contribution to the Naples Forum. First I wondered: will it work? We did not know each other so well. But it has worked wonderfully and our cooperation has been very productive. To get started, I secured that Bob Lusch, Steve Vargo and Jim Spohrer should come, be keynote speakers and stay throughout the Forum to interact with the participants. We have all become great friends although we were sad to lose Bob prematurely. One thing I have learnt in research is that to work successfully in academia you must also be friends.
The Forum quickly established itself as an international service conference. Its focus was set on continued cocreation of S-D Logic and Service Science and the understanding of the complexity of service by means of systems and network theory. We have stuck to this direction. It should be constructive and supportive, not faultfinding, and carry the idea of grand theory of service further. We have come a long way but there is a long way to go.
Today we drown in articles on service. There is no way of reading them all and digest their messages. We need grand theory, meta theory, or whatever you prefer to call it. Instead we get more and more substantive theory and midrange theory. They can be steps for further condensations and generalization, but are they? My feeling is that we assemble piles of research fragments that bring us to “stuck-in-the-middle" theories.
I am often asked: How do you see the future? What will happen next? Service science and S-D logic have the potential to evolve, that is their strength. But exactly how we don't know yet. Forecasts are usually wrong. The only reasonable comment to the future I did not find in so called “top journals", or in methods books that say that a theory must be able to predict the future. I got the best comment when recently one of my favorite actors and singers, Doris Day, passed away aged 97. One of her greatest hits, the song “Que sera, sera", came to my mind. It goes on “…whatever will be, will be, the future's not ours to see, que sera, sera". We just have to keep an open mind.
A candle for our friend…
Dear forum co-creators,
Our friend and mentor, Evert Gummesson, passed away a few weeks ago. Evert has conceived the Naples Forum on Service and has been the first promoter and actor of its first steps. We are left without his guidance but will forever remember his brilliant and original thoughts, suggestions, and ideas.
Goodbye, Evert. We will miss you.
Cristina and Francesco
The Naples Forum on Service is one of the best conferences we have. Get an impression of this wonderful event in our video. A big thank you to Cristina Mele and Francesco Polese & Team.
About the Forum
In coherence with the spirit of the event held in Capri (2009 and 2011), Ischia (2013), Naples (2015), Sorrento (2017), Ischia (2019) and Capri (2021) during which every participant was actor of a co-creating forum where everyone had a key role in the shared value experience, this Forum web page is designed for its users.
The purpose is to overcome geographical constraints of our cultural research environment, to let discussions flow free of any formal, logistic and cultural barrier. The forum is on Service, and topics such as S-D logic, Viable Systems Approach, Service Science, Many-to-Many marketing and other intriguing issues will be addressed in search of common research paths and advances.
The content of the Forum will be represented by papers, abstracts, presentations, pictures, movies and any other kind of material supporting international discussions upon the themes of interest, however the performance of the Forum will be strictly related to everyone contribute, hence look at it as an open tool looking for co-creating activities.
Francesco Polese is Full Professor of Business Management at Business Sciences - Management and Innovation Systems Department the Salerno University of Salerno, Italy.
He is currently teaching: Marketing”, at the Degree Course Economia e Managem
Cristina Mele (PhD) is Full Professor of Service Innovation and the coordinator of the PhD in Management at the Department of Economics, Management and Institutions, University of Naples Federico II. She is delegated of Innovation and Third Mission at University of Naples “Federico II”. Her main
Evert Gummesson is Emeritus Professor of Marketing and Management at the Stockholm University School of Business, Sweden, and its former Research Director. He graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics, received his Ph.D. in management from Stockholm Un