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Innovation typology in tourism

3. Sources of Innovation

Innovation is a result of the interaction between individuals and organizations rather than a linear process based on predetermined stages. The interactive learning model is thus more flexible and adaptable to market developments than the linear model. In connection with learning processes are technological trajectories, which influence innovation performance in organizations and industries. Although shifts in the path followed may occur, learning is mainly based on cumulative processes, i.e. what was known before influences current knowledge. Learning processes can take place within organizations and between them. Consequently, it can be stated, in services above all, that the sources of innovation are based on cumulative learning processes that are influenced by the internal characteristics of organizations as well as by their external linkages.

In order to identify the determinants of innovation in the tourism sector, it is necessary to analyse in detail these main sources of innovation. With this aim, this chapter is divided in four sections. A first section deals with the topics of interactive learning and knowledge transfer. In a second section the dynamics of technological trajectories are analyzed in detail. The third section is dedicated to the management of organizations. Finally, in a fourth section the subject of collaboration with the environment is studied.

3.1. Interactive Learning and Knowledge Transfer

Innovation is not only related to high-tech industries. It actually emerges when the production and transfer of knowledge are appropriate. The interactive model moves from the traditional conception that innovation is only based on R&D and includes learning within and between organizations as well as between producers and users as innovation determinants. However, Asheim and Isaksen (2003) indicate that the linear model is still necessary in some high-tech industries, while the non-linear model or interactive model tends to benefit industries that are less R&D-based.

Despite the fact that co-operation and interactive learning play a major role in innovation in general, these processes are thus more relevant in some sectors than in others. The significance of interactive learning habitually depends on the sector’s main activity and structure. Therefore, interactive learning is especially relevant in sectors structured in SME’s, such as tourism. SME’s increment innovation capacity by collaborating with other organizations and with customers.

As an external factor, organizations benefit from the interaction and the transfer of knowledge with other organizations and institutions. Besides, innovation processes within organizations influence the creation of linkages with the environment. Accordingly, technological activities inside the organization influence the intensity of technology production as well as technology acquisition (Patel and Pavitt 1995).


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