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Innovation typology in tourism

routines also enhance revolutionary innovations. The process of change of routines can occur faster, through the introduction of radical changes. In this context, the concept “revolutionary” appears in contraposition to “evolutionary” (Nelson and Winter 1982).

Learning processes can be routinized, which has a direct influence on innovation performance in organizations. Other relevant innovation processes may be also transformed in routines, such as collaboration with other organizations, acquisition of new technology or interaction with the demand. In relation with this topic, Guia et al. (2006) point out that organizations institutionalize routines in order to reduce uncertainty. In this respect, the institutionalization of routines is influenced by the type of knowledge used. Thus, routines that can be described explicitly should be easier to institutionalize than routines based on tacit knowledge.

Routines are also determined by external conditions. Thus, routines are influenced by the institutional framework as well as by the interaction with other organizations from the environment. Consequently, routines are not only relevant for firms, but also for other types of public and private organizations and institutions.

In conclusion, it has been emphasized in this section that “learning by interacting” has become the most relevant form of knowledge production in the learning economy. Forms of tacit knowledge based on trust and long-term relationships are of high value, since they are difficult to transfer. Besides, some industries innovate through the production and diffusion of codified knowledge. Nevertheless, the combination between both types of knowledge appears to be the most appropriate to enhance innovation performance. In the tourism sector, innovation is frequently related to tacit knowledge, which habitually emerges from the interaction between suppliers and customers.

Skills, competences and routines play a major role in the learning processes taking place in organizations. Competences are enhanced when knowledge is activated and developed in activities. While skills are more related to individuals, routines are modes of doing things in organizations. Routines can be institutionalized, i.e. they can be formalized according to determined objectives. Nonetheless, the existence of a tacit component makes innovation complex and the results of the innovation process uncertain. As Pavitt (2005:109) emphasizes, “only two processes remain generic: coordinating and integrating specialized knowledge, and learning under conditions of uncertainty”.

3.2. Innovation Trajectories

The evolutionary theory suggests that organizational change is based on incremental changes. As it has been emphasized in the former section, routines are the way in which organizations develop. Nevertheless, the introduction of new technology can make routines change radically. Scholars have analyzed these processes (see e.g. Nelson and Winter 1982, Pavitt 1984, Freeman and Soete 1997) and have related them to determined innovation trajectories.


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