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Innovation typology in tourism

The activities of network intensive organizations are related to the storage and use of large amounts of information. In this context, IT-services are fundamental producers of technology for the tourism sector. Network intensive organizations also rely on IT for data processing. Commercialization through internet plays a major role in these organizations.

The structure of such organizations is dynamic and flexible, which makes easier the adaptation to changing conditions in the market. Moreover, innovation performance is generated through bottom-up processes. Thus, in order to produce new knowledge, interactions between individuals are enhanced within organizations. Furthermore, these organizations generally employ high qualified personnel, thereby increasing knowledge and competences inside the organization.

Collaboration with the environment is an endogenous characteristic of such organizations. Network intensive tourism organizations are linked with actors within the sector and with external actors. Furthermore, they participate in local and non- local networks. Therefore, these organizations often develop innovation processes beyond the geographical boundaries. Although they interact with local, regional, national and global institutions, they also operate in other less institutionalized networked environments.

Network intensive organizations diversify innovation processes, which benefits absorptive capacity. They also offer diversified services. As a result, they are able to acquire knowledge from different sources and transform technological opportunities into innovations. Furthermore, they acquire knowledge from users and follow changes in demand needs.

The rate of innovation in these organizations is very high. Accordingly, radical innovations must be introduced regularly. Innovation trajectories thus combine periods of cumulative change with the introduction of radical innovations. Furthermore, innovations in this category may be both new to the organization and new to the market.

These types of organizations develop product, process, organizational and marketing innovations. Innovations have the aim of increasing product differentiation through more effective ways of producing as well as quality improvements.

Only some destinations are structured with a majority of such organizations. This is the case of some large cities, where several network intensive organizations are clustered regionally. Nevertheless, these types of organizations habitually operate at national and global levels. Since they motivate linkages with the environment, other organizations may benefit from knowledge spillovers. At the macro level thus these kinds of organizations enhance innovation performance of other organizations.

To sum up, there was traditionally a common belief that technological change in tourism was exclusively provided by external sectors. As a result, most of tourism organizations would have been identified as supplier dominated. Nevertheless, a new approach to knowledge production based on the interaction between individuals has shown that service activities can be high innovative as well.

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