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Innovation typology in tourism

2. Types of Innovations in the Tourism Sector

The subject of innovation types has been broadly studied and many scholars have contributed to its development. Most of the contributions have based the theory on the manufacturing sector. However, several studies have focused on the tourism industry as well (see e.g. Weiermair 2006, Hjalager 2002, Hall and Williams 2008). Nevertheless, there is a need to widen the theory of innovation types, especially in relation with the tourism sector. Regarding a synthesis approach that takes the similarities between services and manufacturing into account, without forgetting the specificities of services, this chapter is based on contributions for both sectors and their adaptation to the tourism industry.

The principal objectives in this chapter are to identify which innovation types emerge in the tourism sector and to study their characteristics. In the first section, the area of the organization is taken as the main reference to identify the types of innovations. In the next section, the subject of degree of innovativeness is presented. Finally, a third section introduces the specificities of the tourism product and their influence on innovation types.

2.1. Innovation Types and Organization’s Area

It is possible to classify innovations regarding several criteria: area of the organization, technical characteristics, degree of innovativeness, tangibility, etc. The approach introduced in this section identifies innovation types according to the area of the organization and considers the other criteria as characteristics of this main taxonomy. The classification is based on the area of the organization where innovation emerges.

Most of the contributions in the literature on this topic have been made in relation with a determined field of study, usually sector or industry specific. Nevertheless, several of these contributions can be adapted to the tourism sector. Consequently, with the aim of identifying the innovation types that are relevant for the tourism industry, the literature on innovation types according to the area of the organization is here reviewed.

Schumpeter identified five areas of development: generation of new or improved products, introduction of new production processes, development of new sales markets, development of new supply markets and reorganization or restructuring of the company (Fagerberg 2005, Drejer 2004). This classification has been the inspiration for several authors and studies (e.g. Weiermair 2006, Hjalager 2002, Fagerberg 2005, Drejer 2004, OECD 2005). Hjalager (2002), for instance, develops a typology of innovations for the tourism sector that originates from Schumpeter’s work. According to Hjalager, innovations are classified in five categories, which enable multiple combinations. Same as Schumpeter, the categories of product and process innovations are identified. A third category of management innovations is then introduced, which essentially refers to several organizational processes. The fourth category, logistic


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