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Innovation typology in tourism

6. Typology of Innovation in Tourism

The typology presented in this chapter is motivated by Pavitt’s (1984) categorization. In his typology, Pavitt identifies three different possible technological trajectories among sectors: supplier dominated, science based and production intensive. These trajectories can be observed at firm, regional and country levels. Pavitt’s approach mainly takes manufacturing activities into account. However, Hipp and Grupp (2005) indicate that Pavitt’s taxonomy can be also applied to the service sector. Furthermore, they add a fourth innovation category of network intensity.

The aim of this chapter is to suggest a typology of innovation that regards the characteristics of the tourism sector. Therefore, the contributions of Pavitt and Hipp and Grupp are combined with the theory developed in former chapters. Consequently, the determinants introduced in section 3.3 help to describe the characteristics of each innovation category.

Four categories are suggested: supplier dominated, scale intensive, knowledge intensive and network intensive. Table 6.1 presents the main characteristics of this typology.

Table 6.1: Characteristics of the innovation typology for the tourism sector

Innovation trajectory

Type of organizations

Sources of knowledge

Organizational structure

Innovation types

Supplier dominated

SME’s on site, e.g. hotels, restaurants and leisure activities


Managerial structure

Process and product innovations

Scale intensive

Large firms, e.g. leisure parks and hotel resorts

Internal competences and specialized suppliers

Managerial structure that motivates bottom-up processes

Process, organizational and marketing innovations

Knowledge intensive

Public institutions, universities, research centres and KIBS

Science-based and applied research

Dynamic with formalization of innovation

Product, process, organizational and marketing innovations

Network intensive

Large firms and support services, e.g. consultancy, financial services or IT-services

External sources and internal competences

Dynamic structure with capacity to adapt to changes in the environment

Product, process, organizational and marketing innovations


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