Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the motives and experiences service users have to participate in service innovation and how participation effects of the relationship with the caregiver.
Method –Twenty-five patients agreed to participate in the project, in which they were asked to use a diary to record their reflections and ideas for innovations. Fourteen participants completed the task, and we performed additional in-depth interviews with six of these. Using the NVIO software, we applied the theoretical framework to perform a qualitative analysis of the patients’ contributions and the interviews.
Findings – We propose a range of motives from patients being not-interested; believing that participation will give restitution; participating as a form of sociality; feeling an obligation and finally as enjoyment. As patients engaged in the service innovation initiative we also assessed the ways in which involvement may affect quality-of-life. We here use the dimensions of well-being, psychological, physical, existential and support to categorize these influences. The participation seems to have affected two of these dimensions – psychological well-being and support, more than the other two.
Practical implications – We propose that user involvement initiatives should be evaluated not only in terms of the improvements to the service process, but also on the outcomes to the individual user. This study shows that, to the participant, involvement in service innovation is an important event in the context of the relationship with the service provider and is deeply meaning-laden. While service innovation can be a positive and transformative experience, important ethical dilemmas also emerge.
Originality/value – Little research has been conducted into user involvement from a service users’ point of view. This article studies shows the impact user involvement has on the user and the relationship with the service provider.