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Innovation typology in tourism

the conditions of the environment or they may try to influence the environment by introducing new possibilities. However, knowledge about the environment is uncertain and conditions of the environment may change. Therefore, in order to adapt fast to new possibilities, organizations should regularly actualize their interpretations about the environment.

To summarize, this work agrees with the approach that innovation processes are complex and uncertain. As a consequence, dynamic and flexible structures that enhance interaction between individuals may be more appropriate to increase innovation performance. However, in order to coordinate internal and external capabilities, several managerial components are also necessary (Meeus and Oerlemans 2005). Furthermore, organizations should adapt the strategy to the conditions of the environment as well as influence the environment through the innovation processes that originate in firms. In this context, flexible organizational structures are more able to adapt to new conditions in the environment.

3.4. Collaborative Structures

It is fundamental to take into consideration linkages with the environment as a determinant for innovation. Technological advance in an industry is supported by the interaction between different actors. Furthermore, interaction and collaboration are necessary to bring an innovation into the market (Cohen 1995). Collaboration is thus related to the division of innovative labour. In this matter, within industry spillovers

facilitate innovative organizations.







The literature on collaborative structures has usually focused on science-based industries, where R&D is the most important determinant of innovation. However, interaction and collaboration with the environment appears to be a fundamental determinant for innovation in service industries as well. Especially in the tourism industry, collaboration between different actors at the macro level is a factor that influences competitiveness in destinations8. Furthermore, linkages within destinations as well as external linkages increase innovative activity of organizations. Therefore, there is a need to study in detail the characteristics of collaboration with the environment in the tourism industry.

In this section, the topic of collaborative structures is studied on the basis of several contributions made by scholars. The study aims to offer a framework that helps the understanding of the collaborative dynamics in the tourism sector. In order to achieve this objective, first, the reasons to collaborate with other actors and the results of collaboration with the environment are analyzed. Next, several collaborative structures such as networks, clusters and innovation systems are studied. Then, the factors of cohesion such as geographical proximity, social values and institutional framework are detailed. Finally, several alternatives of innovation systems in tourism are suggested.

8 Several actors such as universities, groups of users, research centres or private firms participate in collaborative structures. A detailed classification of the different actors in the tourism sector is developed in section 4.2.


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