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Business and Management.
Many difficulties still exist in translating innovation theories into action in the tourism industry. A substantial literature base is now in place addressing innovation typologies and methodologies and assessing organisational structures, cultures and sizes. Despite this, transferring leading-edge research on organisational innovation and creativity into pragmatic strategies for tourism enterprises has not been fully successful. The most cited and obvious form of innovation is product innovation. It is on this basis that the success of organisations is often judged. In tourism, this criterion for measuring innovativeness is flawed. It encourages companies to spend heavily on visible product changes, often at the expense of innovations in processes, structures, marketing or operational procedures. This leads to piecemeal attempts at innovation, which often lack sustainability. This chapter will examine both the conceptual and practical underpinnings of product and process innovations and investigate how to widen the scope of understanding. The benefits of both forms of innovation will be examined and the challenges posed will be assessed in the context of the current tourism infrastructure and marketplace.
The author will use a case study of Dublin's Smithfield Village to discuss how innovation must exist in a multitude of forms, from location to product design, and from branding to community involvement. The benefits and challenges of the innovations employed will be assessed for a wide number of stakeholders, including local and national tourism interests and local community groups.
The paper will conclude that for innovation to be successful in tourism, the general understanding of the term must be widened. Strategies for innovation must be bedded in a programmed combination of product and process innovations that add value to customer and community alike, and have sustainability at their core.
O'Rawe, M. (2002) 'Moving beyond Product Innovation: Benefits and Challenges" in N. Andrews, S. Flanagan, Ruddy, J. (eds.), Innovation in Tourism Planning (pp. 137-149), Dublin: Tourism Research Centre, Dublin Institute of Technology