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Innovation and current practice in large UK quantity surveying firms

Author Mark Page and Steve Pearson, London South Bank University, and Stephen Pryke, University College London
Summary This study develops a model of innovation for classifying types of innovation among professional service firms. This framework is used to gather evidence of innovation among the largest UK quantity surveying firms, to discover the sources of knowledge and information contributing to innovative activity and improve understanding of the process of innovation among this type of firm. Data collection was by survey questionnaire and structured interview. Senior managers in twenty seven of the largest UK quantity surveying firms were interviewed. The paper presents evidence of substantial innovation in relation to service products, processes of service delivery, markets, organisational structure and resources deployed. The most important sources of ideas and information contributing to innovative activity were found to be sources within the firms themselves. The process of innovation was found to most commonly involve improvements to existing practice in combination with new developments. The more innovative firms display a number of characteristics that include close interaction with clients, investment in ICT systems that span the whole organisation and development of organisational structures and culture that facilitate the systematic acquisition of new knowledge and its incorporation into new services and new processes of service delivery.

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