Innovation typology in tourism
the development of a new route based on the distinctive resources of a determined region.
In contrast, incremental innovations are gradually, cumulative changes, based on continuous processes3. The cumulative impact of incremental innovations can be just as great as the impact of radical innovations, or even greater. Furthermore, some sectors evolve through the implementation of incremental changes while others develop through the production of radical innovations. Besides, the profitability of radical innovations often depends on several incremental improvements (Fagerberg 2005). Examples of incremental innovations in tourism are quality enhancements, the reduction of energy expenditures and the resulting improvement on environmental sustainability, or the augment of the collaboration with other organizations.
In the classification of innovation models for service industries4 Gallouj (2002) includes three more categories apart from radical innovations that are related to the subject of degree of innovativeness: ameliorative, recombinative and incremental innovations. First, ameliorative innovations are defined as improvements that increase the value of the service. Second, recombinative innovations are produced by combining existing service and technical characteristics. Third, incremental innovations emerge from the addition or removal of new elements. In this classification, incremental innovations are thus separated from the other two models. According to Gallouj, incremental innovations differ from ameliorative innovations, because a new element is added, that is new technical or services characteristics. He also points out that while ameliorative innovations are continuous, incremental innovations are discontinuous, which certainly differs from the approach that regards incremental innovations as cumulative changes in continuous processes. The differentiation proposed by Gallouj contributes with new elements to the subject of degree of innovativeness, yet the frontier between the three categories is blurred. For instance, the value of the product or service is either improved or reduced in every incremental innovation, not only in ameliorative ones. Besides, recombinative innovations can also be considered as a type of incremental innovations. In order to encompass these similitudes, Gallouj points out that the three models may overlap and be linked in various forms. However, instead of separating between three innovation models, it seems more appropriate to set ameliorative and recombinative innovations within the group of incremental innovations.
Another subject to take into consideration is the degree of innovativeness in innovations that emerge from the interaction between provider and user. Service improvements often take place in this interaction and some of them can be considered innovations. In this matter, Drejer (2004) indicates that if the elements of services are not modified, they can be part of quality services, but they are not sources of additional value. Besides, Drejer points out that changes based on the interaction between provider and customer can only be considered innovations, if the results of the learning taking place in adapting a service to a specific customer signify a new business opportunity of particular importance for economic development. Accordingly,
3 The idea of continuity is here different from that of the linear model, in which innovation is seen as applied science that is based on different stages (Fagerberg, 2005). Here the term refers to innovations that continuously advance the process of change (OECD, 2005).
4 Gallouj (2002) identifies between six innovation models: radical, ameliorative, incremental, ad hoc, recombinative and formalization of innovation. These innovation models may be linked in several ways. In this section, only the ones that are related to the degree of innovativeness are introduced.