Tracking hidden innovations in tourism
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionCreativity and Innovation Management. 2021, 1-17. 10.1111/caim.12440
Hidden innovations are innovations that have been overlooked, forgotten or ignored. In this context, this study explores hidden innovations in tourism—innovations not captured by frequently used quantitative instruments such as the Eurostat's community innovation survey (CIS). The study also explains why several innovations have remained hidden in the tourism industry. It identifies and analyses processes producing hidden innovations and determines the characteristics and types of these innovations. The study analyses 13 interviews in four tourism businesses—one Alpine centre and three hotels. Empirical testing indicates the inadequacy of CIS measurement in capturing these innovations. The findings reveal several hidden innovations. In the tourism context, we find two types of hidden innovations—hidden stage-wise and stage-merged innovations. These hidden innovations have two triggers. The first trigger refers to the evaluation of work processes carried out at the decentralized levels of companies. The second trigger is the work climate combining staff willingness (W) and opportunities (O) (WO-oriented work climate)—where the employees are willing to engage with innovation and are provided with an innovation opportunity. This study has important implications for extending the understanding of hidden innovations, especially in tourism, and guiding managers to facilitate, motivate and support work environments that allow employees' freedom and help them take responsibility to generate ideas and innovations.