PhD defence

Beware of chameleons - chameleons beware! The propriety of innovation as a concept for the coordination of novelty and change. Insights from the Dutch travel industry

PhD candidate mr. HHF (Harald) Buijtendijk MSc
Promotor prof.dr. VR (Rene) van der Duim
Co-promotor M (Martijn) Duineveld
Organisation Wageningen University, Cultural Geography, Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

Thu 10 June 2021 11:00 to 12:30



Talking about change is easier than accomplishing it. The climate crisis and Covid-19 make this painfully clear. This thesis offers a helping hand to those who seek to instigate change from within.

The alternative exploration of innovation in this thesis moves beyond the usual edifying stories of new technologies and their alleged commercial benefits. Instead, it focuses on the use and usefulness of the concept of innovation in organisations. Zooming in on the crisis-prone Dutch outbound travel industry, in this thesis I analyse the failed introduction of a carbon management calculator for tour operators; the Dutch aviation policy impasse; and the development of an innovation unit in a large corporate tour operator (TUI).

Beware of chameleons – chameleons beware highlights that innovation is politics. Change-makers will encounter chameleons on their path: powerful people and organisations who – like their reptilian equivalent – change color to suit new dawns but remain their former shape. In this thesis I propose ways to deal with these tricky creatures and question if we should abandon the term innovation.