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Innovation typology in tourism

Consequently, it can be stated that synthetic knowledge is crucial in the economy of learning and interacting. Therefore, interaction between customers and suppliers is at the core of the innovation process. According to this classification, the tourism sector could be characterized by using more synthetic than analytical knowledge. Applied research, tacit knowledge and incremental changes based on the interaction with customers and suppliers play a major role in innovation processes in tourism. However, as it happens with tacit and explicit knowledge, it is more appropriate to emphasize the complementarities between analytical and synthetic knowledge than their differences.

Although geographically embedded industries such as tourism rely more on the transfer of synthetic knowledge, analytical knowledge spillovers can be regionally embedded as well (Asheim and Gertler 2005). Indeed, certain regions are characterized by an elevate interaction between organizations that fundamentally innovate through the mobilization of science-based knowledge, which motivates the development of spin-off organizations in the same geographical area. Consequently, despite the fact that codified knowledge can be transferred abroad, it frequently remains localized. This is mainly because knowledge spillovers occur in local social networks in the first place and, later on, knowledge is transferred abroad.

Learning Organizations

Several authors have studied the topic of organizational learning at different levels. For instance, Lundvall (2004) indicates that the knowledge economy has changed into the learning economy. In this context, learning organizations play a major role. Asheim and Isaksen (2003) also argue that a learning economy is necessary for the continuous change of economic, social and technical knowledge. Accordingly, they introduce the concept of learning regions as well, where learning organizations are supported by the institutional and social frameworks.

A strand of organizational theories focuses on the micro-level. This group of theories studies the development of ideas at the organizational level (Lam 2005). Sundbo (2001), for instance, develops his strategic innovation theory starting at the level of the firm. Individual learning is transformed into organizational learning. Afterwards, the performance of firms can be summarized in order to analyse the macro-level. In this subsection, several contributions related to the subjects of organizational learning and knowledge creation are reviewed. Besides, it is described how knowledge is embodied in skills and competences of individuals, which determines innovation capabilities of the organization.

Lundvall (2004) identifies different types of learning. “Learning by doing” and “learning by using” are related to experience-based learning and “learning by interacting” is connected with the development of competences through the interaction between producers and users. Although it is necessary to invest in all three types of learning, “learning by interacting” is especially relevant for knowledge production.

Interactive learning requires the collaboration between groups of employees of the same organization (Asheim and Isaksen 2003), since new knowledge is created in the


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