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Innovation typology in tourism

5. Innovation Measurement

Several factors make difficult the task of identifying the appropriate indicators for measuring innovation. For instance, innovation is a complex process that includes innovative activities at the firm level, external factors such as technological trajectories, demand characteristics or the institutional framework. Besides, it is still unclear if the main drivers of innovation, which are knowledge transfer and interactive learning, can be measured accurately.

Despite the number of uncertainties around the topic of innovation measurement, surveys have tried to measure innovation in several forms. Here is important to emphasize the role of the Oslo Manual (OECD 2005) in providing the guidelines for measuring innovation at the national level. Thus, many surveys in OECD and non- OECD countries have been carried out according to the suggestions of the Oslo Manual, which has facilitated the analysis of data at international level.

Nevertheless, a great number of theories on innovation must still be confirmed empirically. Regarding the measurement of innovation in tourism, the survey on tourism firms in Spain and Denmark carried out by Sundbo et al. (1997) contributes to the identification of some of the innovation determinants in the tourism industry. However, several factors influencing innovation performance in tourism such as linkages between organizations, the role of the demand, or the acquisition, production and diffusion of knowledge in the sector must still be analyzed.

Thus, the aim of this chapter is to provide a conceptual framework for the measurement of innovation in tourism. The different measurement approaches that are to find in the literature are presented in a first section. Next, an approach for the measurement of innovation in the tourism sector is developed.

5.1. Measurement Approaches

Innovation surveys have traditionally focused on manufacturing activities. Service innovation has only been taken into account recently (see OECD 2005). Therefore, the approaches introduced in this section are mainly based on manufacturing industries. They might be, however, of great relevance for the service sector as well.

Unger (2005) identifies the usual modes of measuring innovation: through case study, journals and publications, surveys, input indicators such as R&D, and output variables such patents and sales. Journals and publications, however, can be considered within the output indicators. Similarly, case studies can be regarded as a type of survey. Therefore, in this section I will sum up the different measurement approaches in two subsections. In the first subsection, the most important input-output indicators that are to find in the literature are reviewed. In a second subsection, different types of innovations surveys are studied in detail.


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