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Innovation typology in tourism

confirm that firms in the same industry follow different innovation trajectories6. Besides, they indicate that different groups of firms with different innovation characteristics may emerge within industries.

In the evolutionary theory it is indicated that development is based on cumulative changes, however it is also emphasized that working within a certain path may reduce the possibilities of development. In order to avoid “lock-in situations”, the technological trajectory can be changed through the introduction of radical innovations (Asheim and Isaksen 2003). As a result, new knowledge is created. Consequently, organizations develop through the combination of periods of stability and periods of radical change (Lam 2005). Long-term fluctuations may be originated by successive technological revolutions (Freeman and Soete 1997).

In technological revolutions, diffusion of innovation plays a major role. Consequently, the creation of and innovation should be followed by its diffusion. Furthermore, diffusion processes over long time periods may benefit innovation trajectories.

Diffusion processes in the literature are often related to economic growth (see e.g. OECD 2005, Unger 2005, Patel and Pavitt 1995). Indeed, the benefits of innovation are explained by diffusion processes. This implies commercialization as well as acquisition. Accordingly, the output of innovation activities is first observed when diffusion processes take place. Besides, acquisition of innovations benefits the adopting organization.

Conditions of diffusion determine the scope of innovations. Thus, in order to commercialize innovations firms need the appropriate resources. Moreover, organizations that acquire technology must have the capability to adapt them, which may require further developments (Patel and Pavitt 1995).

Industries interact and exchange innovations. Accordingly, it can be stated that the interaction between sectors of production and sectors of use influences technological trajectories. Several scholars have studied the processes of production and use of innovations (see e.g. Archibugi and Pianta 1996, Pavitt 1984, Miles 2005, Barras 1986, Hipp and Grupp 2005).

For instance, Pavitt (1984) develops his taxonomy of innovation through the identification of sectors of production and use. He points out that innovations may be used in the same sector of production or in other sectors. Accordingly, some sectors produce their own innovations, while others are mainly producers or users. Moreover, Pavitt indicates that linkages between sectors are not only based on the purchase of innovations, but also on the diffusion of knowledge and skills.

Regarding the differences between the manufacturing sector and the service sector, several authors have pointed out that the main source of innovation in services is the acquisition of technology from other sectors (see e.g. Pavitt 1984, Miles 2005, Barras 1986).

6 In this study, Leiponen and Drejer (2007) also relate diversification with the level of technological activity. The results of the survey confirm that heterogeneity can be found in both high and low technology industries.


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