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German Forum for Service Research (DF)²

The German Forum for Service Research (DF)² aims to foster the design of innovative technology-oriented service systems with high customer value to pave the way for the future competitiveness of the German economy.


The design logic for value creation is undergoing radical change. Digital transformation as its core driver is changing service offerings and business models as well as organizations, collaboration and human work. The ability to design digital services has the potential to be a key competence for this new logic of value creation. We can already witness technical innovations in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or the Internet of Things (IoT) to be primarily applied for the development of digital services. In addition, digitalization opens up entirely new opportunities for interaction with users and the co-creation of services: With voice-controlled digital assistants, machine interaction moves into users' living rooms, while highly personalized services are facilitated by mobile devices equipped with sensors and machine learning processes – e.g. personal training assistants. Hence, we need to simultaneously consider technological advancements and the human perspective when designing innovative service systems to enable interactivity and individuality as prerequisites for joint value creation.


The research project DL2030 intends to identify research and development needs, including suitable approaches, that contribute to the design of innovative technology-oriented service systems with high customer benefits. In particular, DL2030 aims to gather insights and opinions of different stakeholders from research, industry and interest groups to provide valuable input in order to strengthen the position of service research as an independent field of research and advance its further development by identifying strategic research directions, potentials and needs.

Course of Action

The research project DL 2030 pursues to lay the fundament for human-centered design of innovative service ecosystems and thereby forward the future competitiveness of the German economy in a two-pronged approach.

As a first pillar, a clear picture of the status quo of service research is crucial to track developments and to identify new emerging topics. Leveraging machine learning approaches (“topic modelling”), 500,000 publications were analyzed to draw a comprehensive and objective picture of the service research landscape. The results are visualized in an adaptable Service Analysis Dashboard, which can be leveraged by stakeholders from research and practice to identify trends in the field service. An interview study with 24 experts complements and validates the results from this systematic analysis. Based on the insights, the project consortium identifies initial needs for research and recommends structural actions for sustainable and innovation-oriented service research. Our position paper draws the pathway how service transformation can open up opportunities for the future of value creation and employment. Finally, DL2030 offers an overview of over 600 publicly funded projects from over 180 universities, universities of applied sciences as well as research institutes in the form of a competence radar. Research activities as well as initiatives in education for the training of future leaders can be tracked with this radar.

Community building to establish a constant dialogue between research and industry is the second pillar of the project. Service research is highly interdisciplinary in Germany and includes, for example, Information Systems, Marketing, Innovation Management or Engineering. The project DL2030 is set to establish the German Forum for Service Research (DF)² as a central keystone to connect the different disciplines of service research as well as diverse stakeholders from industry. The forum focuses on carving out impulses for subsidy policy and pursues to establish a broad, diverse audience to increase visibility for focal topics of service research. Our newsletter informs interested stakeholders about ongoing developments of the forum.


  • Universität Hamburg, Fachbereich Informatik, IT-Management & -Consulting, Prof. Dr. Tilo Böhmann
  • Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Karlsruhe Service Reserach Institute, Digital Service Innovation, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Satzger
  • Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftsinformatik, insbesondere Innovation & Wertschöpfung, Prof. Dr. Angela Roth


This initiative is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with the PTKA as the project sponsor.

Funding reference: 02K18D200

Contact persons

Prof. Dr. Tilo Böhmann: tilo.boehmann@uni-hamburg.de

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Satzger: gerhard.satzger@kit.edu

Prof. Dr. Angela Roth: angela.roth@fau.de