Edited by Gry Agnete Alsos, Dorthe Eide and Einar Lier Madsen
Chapter 5: Innovations, their knowledge sources and their effects in experience-based tourism
In this chapter, we explore and map (parts of) the innovation process in tourism firms. Innovation can be defined as ëthe implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organizational method in business practices, workplace organization or external relationsí (OECD, 2005). This rather broad definition of innovation encompasses different types of innovations, stressing that innovation can be technological, such as the development of a new product or process, and non-technological, such as the development of marketing and organizational innovations. Research and theory stress that innovation is a systemic process where firms draw on both external and internal knowledge sources and interact with actors external to the firm to solve a problem, such as to improve performance, satisfy governmental regulations, or win new market share. A mapping of the innovation process within tourism firms therefore needs to include an overview of knowledge sources and knowledge flows, linkages between actors, and the effects of innovation on firm performance. Why do we need to map the innovation process within tourism firms? Although similar mappings have been performed for at least two decades in other industries in the manufacturing and service sectors (Von Hippel 1988, 2006), our understanding of innovation and its driving forces and effects in tourism is poor and lags behind our understanding of innovation in other industries.
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