Knowledge Intensive Business Services: post-pandemic new normal

This event is the third in a series to be co-hosted by Essex Business School, University of Essex and Birkbeck, University of London.

For a summary of this event please see the Birkbeck Events Blog. A recording of this event is available to watch on YouTube.

This event will be co-hosted by Birkbeck, University of London and Essex Business School, University of Essex, on 29 June 2021, 14:00 — 15:00.

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Professors Ian Miles (Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester) and David Doloreux (HEC Montréal) will outline slightly different views about post-pandemic new normal of Knowledge Intensive Business Services. Dr Muthu de Silva (Birkbeck) will chair the debate.

Social distancing imposed by the pandemic has pushed organisations to rely on remote working. One of the sectors that has faced great challenges is Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS), where many firms in non-crisis circumstances had heavily relied on team working and/or in-person working relationship with clients and ecosystem actors. They also confronted changing patterns of demand, and not only related to the drop in economic activity – clients required services (ranging from strategy consultancy to digital systems support) to assist their own strategies for dealing with the crisis. Confronting new demand and new working conditions was a challenge that often resulted in innovation, and may have longer-term impacts on KIBS’ practices and products.  How far will the industry return to heavy reliance of in-person working and face-to-face interchange, or adopt ‘hybrid’ models (combining in-person and remote working) and more digital service production and delivery? Different resolutions may well emerge across firms and sectors, but how can we understand the dynamics and implications of this? This debate intends to discuss post-pandemic “new normal)” for KIBS by looking at topics such as:

  • What could be the organisational learning from the enforced changes in working patterns (e,g,, as to task automation/augmentation, digital versus in-person team activity, divisions of labour)?
  • What are the implications of the ‘hybrid’ model on KIBS’ organisational innovation and sustainability?
  • How would the ‘hybrid’ model influence KIBS’ interactions with, and services offered to, their clients? (E.g. how far is the result likely to be a shift towards more standardised – versus customised – services?)
  • How would the ‘hybrid’ model influence KIBS’ interactions with the ecosystem? Are new platforms liable to become the norm for KIBS activities?


Professor Ian Miles

Ian Miles studied psychology, and after 18 years at Sussex University’s Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), he joined PREST in Manchester in 1990 –  PREST is now part of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research(MIoIR). His research interests include innovation in service industries and the roles of Knowledge-Intensive Business Services (KIBS) in particular. Other work focuses on information society issues, foresight approaches, and wider social implications (and social shaping) of technological change. As well as being Emeritus at MIoIR, he is an Academic Advisor in the Higher School of Economics, Moscow.  Many publications are available via the usual outlets.

Professor David Doloreux

David Doloreux’s research revolves around four main issues: the habits and practices of entrepreneurs vis-à-vis the process of innovation and creativity; the impact of localization and the nature of business activities surrounding innovation and the comparison between business performance and the regions (and innovation systems) in diversified contexts; the role of institutions and support organizations in the development of new businesses; as well as the knowledge needed to clarify the link between entrepreneurship, the process of innovation and creativity and the economic development of the regions.

Dr Muthu de Silva

Muthu De Silva is a, Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. Her research contributes to our knowledge on co-creation. She has published in world-leading (ABS 4*/3*) journals such as  Research Policy, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, British Journal of Management, International Small Business Journal, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Journal of Business Research, Industrial Marketing Management, R&D Management, Technovation, International Business Review and Studies in Higher Education. She has secured major grants from Innovate UK, Intellectual Property Office, EU and British Academy/Leverhulme, OECD, and British Academy of Management. She is a fellow of Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. She is in the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Management.