Having a strategy for new service development - Does it really matter?
Purpose - The aim of this study is to investigate the role of key strategic factors in new service development (NSD). In particular, the role of service development strategy, a formalised development process, integrated development teams and customer co-creation were investigated and the results were compared with managers' beliefs. Design/methodology/approach - The study used a sample of more than 500 service development projects to test a NSD conceptual model. Regression analysis was used to test the relative importance of the key strategic factors, and the results were compared with managers' beliefs. Findings - The results show that managers believe that customer co-creation is most important in order to succeed with NSD. However, contrary to management belief, a service development strategy is the "missing link" in improving NSD performance. In addition, the research highlighted an interaction effect between integrated development teams and customer co-creation, which means that project managers should focus on individual competencies on the development team and how they interact with customers throughout the NSD process. Originality/value - For a long time, NSD has failed to receive the attention it deserves, not just in practice but also in service research. This study shows that the number of new services put on the market and then withdrawn because of low sales remains as high as 43 per cent. This paper contributes knowledge on how to reduce the number of failures in NSD by pointing out the key strategic factors that influence NSD performance.