November 2016 Download this article as a PDF

From the Editor-in-Chief

Welcome to the November 2016 issue of the Technology Innovation Management Review. This month's editorial theme is Innovation in Tourism, and I am pleased to introduce our guest editors, David Guimont and Dominic Lapointe. David Guimont is a Teacher-Researcher at the Cégep de Rivière-du-Loup in Quebec, Canada, where he is associated with the Living Lab in Open Innovation (LLio). Dominic Lapointe is a Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Tourism at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). The vision for this special issue arose from the 2016 International Conference on Tourism (ICOT) Innovation Conference, which was held this past summer in Naples, Italy, in collaboration with the International Association for Tourism Policy (IATOUR), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting scientific tourism research. At this event, the guest editors chaired a special session titled "Collaborative, Cooperative and Open: New Forms of Innovation and Partnership for Tourism", which featured early versions of some of the articles presented here.

The authors in this issue take us on a guided tour through interesting case studies at the intersection of tourism and technology innovation management. First, we travel along orchard-lined country roads following Quebec's Cider Route, where technology innovation may provide as much value in the mobile phones of visitors as it does to the stakeholders who are brought together through its role as a rejuvenating boundary object. Continuing our tour of rural Quebec, we see further examples of how technology is being used to enhance the sightseeing experiences of tourists, in this case also highlighting the importance of scale and territory when applying a living lab approach to tourism innovation. Next, travelling to an urban setting, we walk the tourist-filled cobblestone streets of Montreal to see how a city can be more than just a smart city, but can also be a smart destination for visitors – provided that the overlaps and unique aspects of these concepts (and among their stakeholders) are recognized. We also travel to Europe, first to the sheltered valleys of Western Switzerland, where we see how local actors have used crowdsourcing to attract stargazing visitors while co-creating shared value for local actors. In Spain, our final stop, we visit theme parks but must decide whether to wait in line or pay extra for a queue-jumping express pass put in place to segment and improve the customer experience. That is the brochure for the tour, but for a more detailed itinerary I encourage you to read the guest editors' introduction to the special issue, below.

In December, our theme is Smart Cities and Regions with guest editors Taina Tukiainen, Seppo Leminen, and Mika Westerlund. Then, we start 2017 by revisiting the popular theme of Living Labs in collaboration with the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL).

We welcome your submissions of articles on technology entrepreneurship, innovation management, and other topics relevant to launching and growing technology companies and solving practical problems in emerging domains. Please contact us with potential article topics and submissions.

Chris McPhee

From the Guest Editors

Tourism is one of the largest industries in the global economic system, and its importance is growing. Indeed, since 2010, most industries have become accustomed to slow growth while the tourism industry records above-average growth, making it one the fastest growing industry worldwide. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO, 2016), 2015 was a record-breaking year with 1.2 billion international tourist arrivals. Today, international tourism represent one tenth of the world economy and accounts for 1 out of every 11 jobs on the planet. Still, we find that there is not enough research on this industry compared to its economic and social importance.

Among the factors that support that important growth and the development of this industry is the opening of new destinations around the world, especially in developing countries. This new context increases the competition between destinations to attract new tourists onto the market, but also to retain existing visitors. The choices for visitors (customers) have never been as diverse and abundant as they are today. However, although those visitors are by definition highly mobile, the destinations are by definition not mobile. This situation pushes the destination to innovate to adapt to this competitive environment. Although innovation is seen as necessary to “survive”, the structure of the industry impairs its capacity to innovate (Hjalager, 2002).

The tourism industry is complex and multi-dimensional; it involves a large diversity of stakeholders that offer a “basket of goods and services”, meaning a combination of commercial and non-commercial goods and services that can only be consumed in the here and now of a visitor's experience during a trip. The major tourism companies (e.g., Disney World, the Hilton hotel chain) have strong innovation capabilities, the bundles of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are the core of local destinations have greater difficulty innovating. The barriers to innovation faced by those businesses and the local destination management organizations are due to the difficulties in creating an innovation culture based on trust, the difficulties in protecting innovation from being copied, and high staff turnover, especially due to seasonality and a local culture of innovation management (Najda-Janoszka & Kopera, 2014).

The tourism industry is considered a pioneer in the use of information technology (Buhalis & Law 2008), even if innovation has not been widely discussed in the tourism literature (Halkier et al., 2013). Furthermore, new innovation paradigms are emerging and transforming existing innovation processes. Those new forms of innovation – such as open innovation, user-centric collaborative innovation, co-creation for innovation in services, living labs, smart destinations, and  ICT-enabled innovation – offer different upsides and challenges. However, the tourism industry appears to struggle to integrate those new approaches (Najda-Janoszka and Kopera 2014), mainly because it lacks a culture of trust, it has difficulties coordinating very diverse types of businesses (e.g., lodging, entertainment, landscape planning), and it traditionally features centralized destination management and marketing activities. Indeed, these new forms of innovation call for a different type of partnership: a reconceptualization of the role of stakeholders in innovation processes and a renewed look at the innovation barriers and gateways. These concepts are the focus of this special issue.

In the first article, Martin Cloutier and Laurent Renard from the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), Canada, Sébastien Arcand from HEC Montreal, and Michael Laviolette from the Toulouse Business School in France examine the collaboration undertaken to rejuvenate the Cider Route in Quebec, Canada. They use the concept of a boundary object through action design research to propose the creation of a mobile application. This form of innovation is designed to support the tourism experience but also to stimulate cooperation between the different groups of stakeholders. This collaboration aims at renewing the vision of the Cider Route and supporting its strategic planning.

In the second article, we discuss levels of innovation and geographic scales. We cross-examine those two concepts to analyze a living lab project aimed at fostering tourism innovation. This living lab is designed as an open innovation ecosystem but also acts as a socio-territorial model of development, thus stressing the importance of scale and territory to creates complex multi-faceted innovation processes.

Next, Mohamed Reda Khomsi from the Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada, examines the differences between the "smart city" and the "smart destination" and the omnipresence of tourism even when it is not the main innovative focus of the smart city. Sharing lessons from Montreal's implementation of its smart city plan, he also stresses that the creation of an organizational structure dedicated solely to the smart city helped to spawn initiatives within the innovation and entertainment sectors and promoted entrepreneurship through the linking of startups with funding bodies.

In the fourth article, Vincent Grèzes, Béatrice Girod Lehmann, Marc Schnyder, and Antoine Perruchoud from the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland in Sierre present a process of value co-creation in a peripheral region of Switzerland. The problem facing those communities is the declining value of tourism activities. Although innovation policies support strategic industries, no enticing measures are made to support co-creation through local stakeholders, which are the core of the tourism system in peripheral regions. They conclude that co-creation of value can differ from co-creation of shared value and that the latter helps in supporting the quality of the co-creation process.

Finally, Gilda Hernandez-Maskivker and Gerard Ryan from Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona, Spain, look at how a problem in theme parks – long  queues for attractions – became a source of revenue through an innovation called the priority system. Facing a lack of evidence from customers and managers regarding their attitudes toward priority systems, they surveyed 1000 customers and interviewed 10 managers to conclude that, if queues are hard to avoid, an innovative approach can transform the problem into a source of revenue.

Collectively, the contributions from the various authors highlight the importance of the context within which innovation happens. Indeed, tourism's basket of goods and services is highly context dependent, calling for innovation processes that take into account those contexts and the variety of stakeholders involved in those processes. From a touristic site (a theme park) to a metropolis (Montreal), within communities of tourism actors (living labs in rural Quebec) to an administrative region (Western Switzerland) but also within the construction of a tourism region around a production functional territorialization (the Cider Route alongside the cider production system in Quebec), processes are brought in action to stimulate and manage innovation. Those contributions offer a wider understanding of innovation processes, which is contextualized and moves beyond the dichotomies of market pull/push and technology pull/push to bring attention to stakeholders values, shared values, and tourism experience at the core of new innovation processes at play on different scales.

We hope you will enjoy this special issue and that the authors' insights will help inform your work.

David Guimont and Dominic Lapointe
Guest Editors



Buhalis, D., & Law, R. 2008. Progress in Information Technology and Tourism Management: 20 Years on and 10 years after the Internet—The State of eTourism Research. Tourism Management, 29(4): 609–623.

Halkier, H., Kozak, M., & Svensson, B. 2013. Innovation and Tourism Destination Development. European Planning Studies, 22(8): 1547–1550.

Hjalager, A.-M. 2002. Repairing Innovation Defectiveness in Tourism. Tourism Management, 23(5): 465–474.

Najda-Janoszka, M., & Kopera, S. 2014. Exploring Barriers to Innovation in Tourism Industry – The Case of Southern Region of Poland. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 110: 190–201.

UNWTO. 2016. Tourism Highlights: 2016 Edition. Madrid: United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

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Keywords: action research, boundary objects, co-creation, crowdsourcing, innovation, living labs, smart cities, smart destinations, technology, tourism