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Ali Bigdeli - Aston University. Birmingham, , GB

Ali Bigdeli

Associate Professor (Reader) in Industrial Service Innovation | Aston University


Dr Bigdeli is an expert in servitization and advanced services in manufacturing.




Dr Ziaee Bigdeli is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Industrial Service Innovation at the Advanced Services Group, the centre of excellence in research and practice on servitization and advanced services within Aston Business School, Aston University. His interests lie in the organisational change and business model innovation brought about when companies move towards providing outcome-based offerings rather than just selling products on a transactional basis, or servitization.

He has been successful in securing ~£5.5m funding from UKRI, EU, and industry, including: Principal Investigator (PI) of the ESRC-funded project ‘Pathways towards Servitization: A trans-national study of Organisational Transformation’ (ES/P010148/1), and Co-I on two Innovate UK projects: ‘Next generation rice processing’ (ES/P010148/1) and ‘Digital Servitization Demonstrator’ (TS/T011165/1) under the Manufacturing Made Smarter theme.

In the past seven years, he has been extensively engaged with both multinational and small/medium sized manufacturing firms in order to understand servitization in practice, and also help the acceleration of the adoption and implementation of advanced services. As part of his industry engagement activities, he has been the key member in founding a partnership of multinational manufacturing organisations, including Goodyear, Thales, BAXI, Nederman, Mazak, Legrand, Crown, Waters, Domino Printing, Omron and Ishida, and developed and facilitated more than 30 hands-on seminars for their senior executives to explore and accelerate the adoption of servitization.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Manufacturing Strategy

Business Model Innovation


Service Innovation

Organisational Change

Education (4)

Brunel University: PhD, Management and Information Systems 2012

University of Manchester: MSc, Management Information Systems 2009

University of Science & Technology, Iran: MBA 2007

Azad University: BSc, Electronic Engineering 2006

Affiliations (5)

  • Higher Education Academy : Fellow
  • The Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET)
  • Academy of Management (AoM)
  • British Academy of Management (BAM)
  • European Operations Management Association (EurOMA)

Media Appearances (6)

Manufacturing: how to work smarter, not harder

NatWest  online


Technology has been a pivotal force in manufacturing ever since the first pot makers in Sumeria built a kiln to fire their products. Since then, every new breakthrough has been hailed as the game changer, equipping makers with the tools to do things faster, cleaner, safer and cheaper.

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Manufacturing and the shift to servitisation

NatWest  online


For centuries the driving force of the UK economy was manufacturing, but in modern times that leadership role has been replaced by services. It makes sense then that UK manufacturers are now increasingly seeking to marry the two worlds together to fight back against global competition. Servitisation means manufacturers no longer just making products but adding services as well. According to The Manufacturer’s Annual Manufacturing Report 2018, 79% of manufacturers believe it will help broaden their customer base.

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How manufacturers can survive this period of radical change – move into services

The Conversation  online


Change, a 1985 paper argued, can be characterised as a “punctuated equilibrium”: long periods of relative calm and small incremental alterations that are interrupted by brief, but radical, seismic shifts. COVID-19 means that we are now living through one of those revolutionary moments.

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The Big Promise Of Everything-As-A-Service: Ongoing Revenue, Smarter Services

Forbes  online


Offering a household appliance as a service, on its own, can be a hard sell, says Ali Ziaee Bigdeli, senior research fellow at the Aston Business School in Birmingham, England. These products may need to be offered as part of a bigger proposition to draw in consumers at scale. Making an intelligent product part of a smart-home platform is one option.

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Going From Engineering To An MBA

BusinessBecause  online


I have two! Dr. Uwe Napiersky taught me about leading strategically in organizations. All his classes were more like discussions than standard lectures—he brought in a range of different perspectives. And then, my project supervisor Dr. Ali Bigdeli. He’s the one who inspired me to pick my topic for my dissertation.

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‘How Do We Do It?’: Charting a Course to Servitization

Field Service Digital  online


“These days, the question is ‘How do we do it?,'” says Ali Bigdeli, associate professor of industrial service innovation at the Advanced Services Group (ASG), Aston Business School’s servitization center of excellence at Aston University in Birmingham, UK.

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Research Grants (5)

Pathways towards Servitization: A trans-national study of Organisational Transformation

ESRC £255,200

Feb 2018 – Feb 2021 Ziaee Bigdeli, A. (PI), Baines, T.

Digital Servitization Demonstrator. In collaboration with BAXI Heating

Innovate UK £1,692,640

2020 - 2022 In collaboration with BAXI Heating, University of Sheffield, University of Exeter, Digital Catapult, and Siemens.

Digitally-enabled Advanced Services: Developing Research Agenda for Manufacturing Sector

EPSRC £30,000.00


Next Generation Rice Processing

Innovate UK £2,020,000

2019 – 2022 Baines, T., (PI) Ziaee Bigdeli, A. (Co-I), Andrews, D. In collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, Koolmill (UK SME), Siemens UK, plus a Chinese industry and an academic institution.

Advanced Services Growth: Developing Strategies for Improved Growth in Manufacturing SMEs (ASG)

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) £1,446,400

2019 – 2022 Baines, T., Ziaee Bigdeli, A. (Co-I), Schroeder, A., Andrews, D.

Articles (5)

Servitization implementation in the manufacturing organisations: Classification of strategies, definitions, benefits and challenges

International Journal of Information Management

The integration of products and services into a bundled product/service offering by manufacturing organisations is seen as a global trend in today’s competitive business environment. The shift of product-based manufacturers towards offering business solutions and value-added services to consumers is termed as ‘Servitization’. Contrary to the potential benefits expected by adding service activities to the offerings, advocates voice their concerns towards experiential problems and challenges in employing the servitization strategy – termed as ‘Servitization Paradox’.

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Context matters: how internal and external factors impact servitization

Production Planning & Control

The study investigates how internal and external context factors impact a manufacturer’s servitization process (i.e. the strategic transformation from competing through products towards competing through services). A theoretical framework was developed that integrates a multi-stage conceptualisation of servitization with a focus on the wide range of internal and external context factors that support or oppose the transformation.

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Business Model Innovation in Established SMEs: A Configurational Approach

Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are at the heart of a nation’s wealth creation, employment generation and economic development. To help SMEs stay competitive in a fast-changing environment, researchers have recently emphasized the relevance of business model innovation (BMI). However, BMI and its performance are not linear but rather a complex phenomenon that depends on contingency factors.

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Digitally enabled advanced services: a socio-technical perspective on the role of the internet of things (IoT)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

The purpose of this study is to investigate how the internet of things (IoT) contributes to manufacturers' advanced services development and delivery. To better understand the creation of these IoT contributions, the study adopts a socio-technical research perspective, which expands the scope of the investigation and integrates the technological, information and social factors that enable these IoT contributions.

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Behind the scenes of digital servitization: Actualising IoT-enabled affordances

Industrial Marketing Management

Manufacturers are increasingly transforming through servitization, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is a crucial enabler of this transformation. Current literature describes the diverse outcomes from IoT that enable servitization but fails to explain the reasons behind the diversity and the processes manufacturers go through to create these outcomes. This study aims to identify these processes by drawing on affordance theory and its core principles of affordance perception (understanding an opportunity provided by technology) and affordance actualisation (taking advantage of an opportunity provided by technology).

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