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Innovation typology in tourism

Input and Output Indicators

Mainstream economics has traditionally measured innovation through input-output studies (Unger 2005). Inputs understood as sources of innovation have been usually studied on the basis of investments on R&D. Besides, patents, publications or capital goods have been considered as the outputs of the innovative process. These measurement methods are useful since they link investments on innovation with their results. Furthermore, it is possible to evaluate which activities, firms and sectors are more innovative. In this subsection, I mainly focus on the two most used innovation indicators: R&D and patents (Patel and Pavitt 1995, Smith 2005).

First, the measurement of R&D activities in organizations usually focuses on gathering information about the investment on this type of innovative activity9. The Frascati Manual (OECD 2002) suggests the guidelines for collecting data on inputs in R&D in national surveys. The manual covers R&D activities in public institutions, private organizations and non-profit organizations10. According to the manual, R&D activities can be separated between basic research, applied research and experimental development.

The type of sector influences R&D intensity. Accordingly, organizations, industries and countries, where R&D activities are carried out, have been traditionally classified as more innovative. Thus, R&D statistics are influenced by the structure of the industry. However, low-technology industries can be highly innovative as well. They do not produce direct R&D, but acquire R&D embedded in goods and services from other sectors. Moreover, low-technology industries carry out a multitude of development activities that do not fall within R&D, such as product adaptation, market research or quality improvements in services.

Next, patents are the most mentioned output indicator in the literature (see e.g. Archibugi and Pianta 1996, Smith 2005). Patents can be regarded as one output of research activities. However, patents are linked with inventions rather than innovations. Furthermore, patented inventions must not necessarily develop into innovations. Patents do not give information about the possibility to commercialize the invention. Archibugi and Pianta (1996), however, indicate that if organizations patent their inventions is because they expect them to be commercialized. Consequently, patents provide information about the innovative performance of firms, despite the fact that some patents do not develop into innovations that can be commercialized. Furthermore, patenting is also a measure to protect inventions from imitation.

Since not all organizations patent their innovations, studies based on patents have an important limitation. Besides, not all innovations can be patented. Especially in the service sector, innovations are rarely patented. Firms protect innovations by other means, such as maintaining information within the organization, or, as in the case of software, publications and similar media, by protecting through copyright. Accordingly,

9 10 Accordingly, sources of innovation such as R&D are often measured in economical terms. In the Oslo Manual (2005), however, only business firms are regarded, which makes the Frascati Manual (2002) broader in its scope. Nonetheless, the Frascati Manual only deals with the measurement of R&D activities, while the Oslo Manual includes the measurement of other innovation activities as well.


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