Innovation typology in tourism
However, information about innovation activities is difficult to gather. Organizations are rarely aware of all the activities that enhance innovation. Brouwer and Kleinknecht (1997) analyse the CIS survey carried out in 1992 in the Netherlands, in which both manufacturing and service industries were included. In the study, other innovation activities than R&D were studied. Accordingly, intensity on activities such as acquisition of patents and licences, design, trial production, training of employees, market research and investment in production capacity was analyzed. Additionally, it was asked with which accuracy the data was provided. The results showed that 47,8% of service firms were unable to answer with information about innovation activities, 32,1% answered with rough estimates and 20,0% gave fairly accurate figures. Brouwer and Kleinknecht point out that those firms that gave fairly accurate figures tended also to be the most innovative.
Another factor that influences the measurement of innovation in tourism is the consideration of what is meant by “new”. In this regard, it is important to identify if product, process, organizational methods and marketing strategies are new for the firm, for the industry or for the world (Unger 2005). Besides, at the level of the destination, it is also necessary to consider if an innovation is new for the organization or for the destination. However, surveys are habitually influenced by the cognitive perception of the respondents. For instance, innovators rarely have a global perception of all current innovations. Habitually, innovators have the amount of information about innovations that is available in the sectoral and geographical environments, in which they operate. Innovations outside these environments are seldom taken into consideration. Accordingly, indicators of innovation shall specify at which level is the innovation significant. The Oslo Manual (2005), for instance, focuses on gathering information about innovations “new to the firm”.
Novelty, however, is also linked with incremental changes, whose contribution to innovation may be of major relevance over long-time periods. Most surveys have focused on significant innovations thus ignoring the cumulative nature of innovation. Therefore, measurement methods should consider several degrees of innovation. Indicators should measure incremental as well as radical changes.
The measurement of innovation activities within the tourism sector should also consider the acquisition of knowledge. Therefore, not only linkages within the destination should be analyzed, but also interaction with other actors from outside the destination. For instance, the acquisition of IT plays a major role in tourism. Thus, in order to analyse the acquisition of innovations, it would be necessary to identify which are the sectors that interact the most with the tourism industry.
Regarding the linkages with other actors, the interaction between provider and customer should be also taken into consideration. As it has been pointed out, the demand can also influence innovation processes. Thus, the degree of participation of customers in the creation of innovations should be analyzed. Furthermore, it should be studied if organizations acquire knowledge related to demand needs.
An appropriate approach to the measurement of innovation in the tourism sector should also regard innovation performance of public institutions, since their contribution is crucial in tourism innovation. In this matter, surveys have usually taken