Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


INNOVATE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 700893
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.2.
Country: United Kingdom
Domain: Society

Tourism entrepreneurs’ journey through the innovation process

Entrepreneurs face a variety of risks as well as uncertainty during the innovation process. A two-country study has provided insights into the innovation journey of tourism entrepreneurs.
Tourism entrepreneurs’ journey through the innovation process
Entrepreneurs face, among others, operational, financial, personal and market-related risks. Success or failure largely depends on entrepreneurs’ capacity to manage such risks. However, external factors in the product or financial market also come into play, and this is where policymakers can make a difference.

The INNOVATE project looked at the different stages that tourism entrepreneurs go through in their innovation journey. Research findings and deliverables have important implications for practitioners and policymakers concerned with the evolution of innovations to understand and prevent failure.

Innovation risks and policy measures

As part of the initiative’s first main objective, the research team analysed key aspects of the innovation process in Spain and the United Kingdom. This included factors such as risks, networks and facilitators. They also examined the innovation process of 57 entrepreneurs in the 2 countries.

“A longitudinal case study of business performance with an additional sample of 16 innovators also extended knowledge of the dynamics of how innovations emerge and their subsequent trajectory,” says INNOVATE’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSC) fellow Dr Isabel Rodriguez. This involved comprehensive examination of failed innovations and the causes of these outcomes. Case study findings were discussed with policymakers in Spain – an important step, as “governments can influence the balance, or minimisation, of risks,” she notes.

This exercise resulted in co-production of an online survey that enabled discussion of the potential policy measures and issues with a wider sample of 269 tourism innovators in Spain and the United Kingdom. The related data analysis resulted in a policy recommendations report framed around the issues highlighted by the participants. Core policy recommendations are grouped under nine topic headings relating to government guidelines for minimising the risks of innovation in tourism.

Engaging all stakeholders in the innovation journey

INNOVATE actively disseminated project activities and findings at international conferences, seminars, lectures and research meetings. The MSC fellow co-organised two workshops in collaboration with academics, including INNOVATE project coordinator Professor Allan Williams, and an entrepreneur. One of these was a staff research training workshop.

The project maintained social media accounts to communicate research outputs, including a YouTube channel with case study videos providing lessons from failure and advice for future entrepreneurs. Through this, they hosted a webinar. Partners have also published a number of journal articles, and produced press releases and a policy briefing paper.

Overall, “INNOVATE broadened knowledge on how entrepreneurs understand and negotiate innovation risks and their responses to reducing or mitigating those risks,” Dr Rodriguez states. The project represents “the first substantial theoretical and empirical study in tourism of the underpinnings of the innovation process and its risks,” she adds.

The project’s use of a participative methodology to arrive at the policy recommendations helped to increase dialogue and engagement between entrepreneurs and policymakers in the area of tourism innovation. “The analysis of the innovation pathways of a total of 73 entrepreneurs (both successful and unsuccessful) during this 2-year project highlighted critical factors for success or failure,” the fellow says.

Advancing support for tourism innovation

INNOVATE’s research results can prove valuable to already active as well as future entrepreneurs themselves. For example, the case study videos offer valuable information on the steps and decisions known to potentially lead to failure, or at least which make the innovation process more difficult. Academics are also potential users of project contributions. They can use the outputs both for lecturing on entrepreneurship and innovation in tourism and for raising awareness among students.

Dr Rodriguez will continue work on a specific topic: to further understanding on innovation failure in tourism from a multiple stakeholders’ perspective (entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, etc.). This will facilitate further advancement of a conceptual and methodological basis for this new, under-researched topic in tourism innovation studies.


INNOVATE, tourism, innovation process, tourism entrepreneurs, policy recommendations, tourism innovation, innovation risks, innovation failure
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