Ecosystem perspective in tourism sector creates added value

Breukelen, October 3 2018 - An ecosystem perspective on innovation in the tourism sector is needed. This approach places a much greater focus on the various stakeholders in the innovation, which in turn provides a clearer picture of the long-term success and added value for the customer. That is the message shared by Prof. Dr. Bas Hillebrand in his speech. He claims that tourism is uniquely suited for this due to the many (digital) innovations within the sector, and calls upon the industry to conduct joint research into this perspective. Hillebrand also argues that we can use the results of this research to better understand the extent of businesses’ innovativeness, the acceptance of innovations, the necessary skills and the overall customer experience.

These are a few of the topics that Prof. Dr. Bas Hillebrand will discuss in his inaugural speech on Wednesday, 3 October 2018. The speech is titled “Innovation in tourism: an ecosystem perspective”. Prof. Dr. Hillebrand will deliver this speech to mark his acceptance of the chair in Innovation in Tourism at Nyenrode Business Universiteit.

Ecosystem perspective
“In an ecosystem perspective, all stakeholders are taken into account. These are players that can have a positive or negative influence on an organization or innovation, or be positively or negatively influenced themselves”, says Hillebrand. In other words, stakeholders are not only customers, but also suppliers, governments, trade unions and other interested parties.

Bas Hillebrand: “Innovations often catch on quickly with customers, but this doesn't necessarily constitute a sustainable value proposition.” The arrival of Airbnb was very beneficial for landlords and tourists, but the company failed to sufficiently address the concerns of neighbors and local governments who had to deal with inconveniences caused by tourists, rising house prices and lost revenue from tourist taxes. These stakeholders began to turn against Airbnb, and the firm is now suffering the consequences. Not only has Airbnb been forced to put a great deal of money towards restoring its reputation, but landlords are even refusing to be associated with the company because others are increasingly viewing them as a sort of criminal.

More research needed
Scholarly research into innovations in ecosystems is still in its infancy. Hillebrand therefore urges the industry to engage in more collaborative research. He recognizes that an ecosystem perspective makes research more difficult because even more players must be taken into consideration. However, this perspective leads to clearer insight into innovation practices. According to Hillebrand: “This approach allows us to gather more scientific information and insights that provide a better understanding of the extent of businesses’ innovativeness, the acceptance of innovations, the necessary skills and the customer experience throughout the entire chain. These insights will lead to more successful innovations and added value for the customer.”

The research will be carried out within Nyenrode’s Center for Marketing & Supply Chain Management. Center director Prof. Dr. Ir. Kitty Koelemeijer is very pleased with Hillebrand’s research plans: “His research is a valuable addition to the scholarly research at the Center for Marketing & Supply Chain Management. Key focus areas in this regard are (digital) innovation, value chains, client behavior and new business models.”

You can read the full transcript (Dutch) of Prof. Dr. Bas Hillebrand's speech