Introduction

 

We began in 1997 because there were too few spaces where enterprises, employers’ organisations, trade unions, policymakers, professional bodies and researchers could come together, both to explore the future of work and organisations and to address the persistent “long tail” of those not making use of workplace practices that engage and develop the full talent and creativity of employees at all levels.

Since our foundation we have created a series of joint initiatives and projects involving diverse stakeholders, held regular pro bono events to share evidence and good practice, and has been a persistent advocate for national government and EU policies to promote better ways of working.

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Research and Evidence

 

Two things are clear.

Firstly there is a vast and growing body of evidence to show that workplace innovation practices which empower employees to make day-to-day-decisions, challenge established practices, contribute ideas and be heard at the most senior levels of an organisation lead to better business results as well as enhanced workforce health and engagement.

Secondly it is equally clear that most businesses are either unaware of this evidence, or that they are unable or unwilling to act on it. Successive surveys demonstrate a substantial gap between research evidence of “what works” and common workplace practice.

We work with diverse stakeholders to:

  • Undertake high quality research into leading practice and emerging challenges relating to work and organisations. Current and Past Projects
  • Build bridges between research and practice through publications, events and the creation of the EUWIN Knowledge Bank as the leading European source of case studies, articles and other learning resources on workplace innovation.

We have also established Workplace Innovation Limited as a consultancy arm to help companies and public sector organisations create new and better ways of working which build on a vast body of research.

Explore the site to learn more about our surprising range of activities.

 Contact Us

Workplace Innovation helps improve performance and working lives by releasing the full range of talent, knowledge and creativity from employees at every level.

Organisational Health Check

A springboard to innovation


Our Health Checks are not about us telling you what is wrong or right with your organisation. They are about your people telling us what is wrong or right, what can be done better, what works really well and what doesn’t.

An Organisational Health Check acts as a springboard with the potential to release innovative behaviour, improve performance, enhance employee well-being and stimulate growth.

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Insight



We know the importance of listening to employees at every level in order to understand what is working and what needs to be improved.

Our reports based on employees’ own accounts of experiences at work provide boards and senior management teams with a powerful stimulus for change, and help to define priorities for action.

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Facilitating Change and Innovation

Breaking down walls and ceilings


Workplace Innovation is at the heart of performance, growth and employee well-being. Many see it but don’t know how to implement it.

We help organizations review improvement and innovation practices by breaking down walls and ceilings and creating dialogue across hierarchies and functions so that the better argument always wins.

Workplace Innovation’s facilitators work closely with leaders, managers and employees at every level, understanding their aspirations and strengths as well as what holds them back. We seek solutions co-created by all of the main stakeholders in an issue to ensure buy-in and to minimise resistance to change.


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Working with Boards and Senior Teams

Horizon-scanning, thought leadership and rehearsing the future


What will your business look like in 2024 and what will your role be in leading it?

Seeing the world in a different way should be on the job description of Directors. Change is happening and it can’t be controlled but it can be anticipated.

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Developing Emerging Leaders

From transactional to transformational


The demands of leadership are changing. At a time of significant challenge and opportunity, leaders and managers must drive improvement and innovation while motivation and energising employees. Emerging leaders must migrate from purely transactional management to proactive, transformational behaviour while current leaders must address the question of succession.

But where are the next leaders coming from and what skills and competences will they actually need?

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Interactive Theatre

Using drama to provoke thought and motivate change

Interactive theatre in the workplace is a real eye-opener. It helps to unlock employee engagement and creativity, one of the key challenges in securing successful organisational change, improving performance and enhancing working life – but it does it very differently.

You’ll see your organisations in a completely different and thought-provoking light.

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Presentations, Facilitation and Masterclasses

Stimulating, informing and resourcing innovation and change


Expert facilitation, engaging presentations, creative thinking and interactive theatre are just some of the ways we enhance and enliven conferences, time-out sessions, in-house training and team development workshops.

We can also deliver masterclasses and provide internationally recognised expert speakers covering all aspects of people centres change, employee engagement, high involvement innovation and leadership development.

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Transformational Coaching

Achieving a new culture


We know how to coach – we do it for a living. However, we are also on a mission to help managers and leaders become inspired coaches in their own right and to introduce a coaching culture to their organisations that will achieve sustainable benefits.

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Networking and Knowledge Sharing

Remember, you are not alone


Networking, knowledge sharing, the pooling of ideas and intellectual capital are the dynamics that underpin a sustainable movement of workplace innovation and provide all organisations looking to change and to challenge the future with access to the choices open to them and the experiences of others.

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Flexible ILM Leadership & Coaching Courses 

In-house and Distance Learning


Flexibility in learning is becoming increasingly important in employee development. We are experiencing a significant increase in clients needing a more flexible approach to the delivery of our ILM programmes.

Releasing staff to attend off-site public courses can cause problems for organisations, despite the obvious benefits of individuals from different backgrounds and industries sharing their experiences as they learn together. It is not always convenient for managers to block out days in their diary to attend sessions off-site, on dates that tend to be inflexible.

We recognise this and in addition to our public courses we are able to offer a range of flexible options to make it easier for organisations and individuals to access our ILM Leadership, Management and Coaching programme.

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Argenta Dundee

A case study in cultural transformation



The Company


Argenta provides veterinary product development and pharmaceutical contract manufacturing services to the international animal health industry.

Previously part of a larger pharmaceutical company, the Dundee operation was acquired by Argenta in April 2017.

The 80,000-square-foot Dundee facility encompasses a manufacturing plant, laboratories and warehouse spaces for the production of a broad range of high-quality animal health products, including non-sterile liquids, suspensions, and gels. It currently employs 130 people on-site.

Becoming part of a much smaller company, the leadership team at Argenta Dundee had to redefine their roles and responsibilities and to take on tasks that had previously dealt with by specialists in other parts of the group. These included HR, payroll, VAT returns and managing cashflow.

The change of ownership also entailed considerable culture change, team development and workforce engagement.

Argenta benefited from participation in Scottish Enterprise’s Workplace Innovation Engagement Programme where they were introduced to new forms of training as well attending a series of workshops facilitated by Workplace Innovation Limited where they were introduced to the Essential Fifth Element Diagnostic, an on-line employee survey tool designed to assess a broad spectrum of workplace practices.


The Challenge


As part of a large multi-national, the leadership team at the Dundee operation enjoyed all the support they needed in terms of funding, training, strategy, logistics, exporting/importing, and sales from internal sources at its US based headquarters. After the sale to Argenta, a much smaller New Zealand based business, this support was no longer available and the management team needed to take on responsibilities and new decision-making that they had not previously encountered. In addition, the uncertainty associated with the sale of the business threatened staff morale.

David O'Byrne, Operational Excellence Lead at Argenta Dundee, identified two specific issues following the sale on the business to Argenta:

The senior leadership team had to get much more involved in the strategic management of the business and as a result we had stop focusing on being scientists and engineers. Secondly, the career opportunities that existed in the multi-national company were no longer available. We now have to work much harder to keep our best people engaged and interested. We must ensure that they can see how their career will develop in Argenta. . .

The prolonged sale of the business created uncertainty amongst the staff and, although most accepted that some redundancies were inevitable, senior management recognised at an early stage that this need to be managed sensitively.

David O’Byrne explained the need for adopting personal change if you want to make new forms of communication effective.

We tried to make sure senior managers spend more time with front line staff and less time at their desks. Senior managers are encouraged to get out and make contact with people and ask how are you getting on? Have that personal conversation - how is your process running here? Are you okay?

But it’s clear if you don’t have the right attitude to change, if you don’t have managers who are open to relinquishing power, if you don’t have a strategy from the leadership team that is being effectively communicated, if you don’t have a frontline workforce who are engaged and not scared by change and don’t feel that change is going to cost them their job, if employees at every level aren’t engaged and the culture is not right then you are going to lose every time.

David described the process of creating more effective communication, of getting people focused on the things that were stopping them doing their job better and the importance breaking down silos, getting teams working better together and getting the leadership team around the floor and pushing decision-making down to the lowest possible level.

Solutions can be very simple. A normally stress-ridden morning meeting was pushed back by half an hour giving people time to catch up on any issues that arose overnight or in the previous evening, talk to their team, have a cup of coffee and breath. People then began to come to the meeting more relaxed and with positive solutions or suggestions.

Workplace Innovation teaches you to go and find out what people’s problems really are, to listen to what they are saying and work with them to identify whether there something to it and how you can help? Workplace Innovation also highlights that you must not ignore ideas coming from unlikely sources. It’s very easy to ignore the lone voice but it’s the power of the best argument - the best argument should win no matter where that comes from.

In one case, the management team were considering ways of handling trip hazards in a manufacturing area with multiple hoses on the floor connecting various tanks and some new fixed pipework was suggested. Had they left it to the engineering team, tens of thousand pounds worth of stainless steel piping would have been the solution, but they involved the operators, one of whom suggested using some existing pipes which are currently only used during the cleaning process.

We have multiple PhDs but nobody else had thought of this radical idea to use the pipework that’s already in the room. Just take off the sticker that says ‘cleaning’.

Engagement is key. This incident shows how new thinking at Argenta encouraged an operator to speak up in front of management to make a point where previously he may have said nothing but grumbled down the pub saying “I could have told them that.”

Feedback is not just about making operators feel good, it is about encouraging them to release their potential. If someone makes a suggestion give them feedback even if it’s telling them why you haven’t acted upon it or you may never get another suggestion from them.

According to David O’Byrne, it’s also about identifying with what you’re doing and seeing he bigger picture. It’s about employees accepting and implementing change and future proofing the business and it’s about ensuring there is not only effective and consistent communication but everyone is made to feel part of the decision-making process.

He added:

The involvement of Peter Totterdill and Rosemary Exton from Workplace Innovation Limited has been extremely important to our change journey. They have such a vast wealth and breadth of experience, so if you say ‘Oh I’ve tried that’, they’ll come back to you with ‘have you tried it this way?’ It is so useful to be able to go to someone neutral, someone independent and highly experienced and have them reassure you about how you are going about the process of change and saying have you tried this, are you looking after yourselves?

Latest News and Events

Scottish Enterprise (https://www.scottish-enterprise.com/) has announced the continuation of its nation-wide programme of workplace innovation Masterclasses confirming Scotland’s status as one of the most pro-active European countries promoting long-term sustainable economic growth through the development of inclusive and creative workplaces. The contract to conduct the next 12 Masterclasses over a three year programme has been awarded to Workplace Innovation Europe Limited (WIE) (http://www.workplaceinnovation.eu), a not-for-profit organisation which successfully delivered Scottish Enterprise’s Workplace Innovation Engagement Programme (WIEP) where 19 business were engaged in a ground-breaking combination of individual learning and development, peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge and experience, and on-site coaching and facilitation. Read more (http://www.workplaceinnovation.eu/future-proofing-the-Scottish-economy)..

Organisations face unprecedented challenges in addressing complex social, economic and environmental policy demands within ever tighter financial constraints. Tackling these challenges can’t be done by senior teams alone: they need to harness the creativity, insights and engagement of the entire workforce. But that means challenging some deeply embedded practices . . . Our free Guide offers inspiration and solutions, helping you assess current practice in your organisation, suggesting pathways to change, and signposting further sources of information and support. DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE GUIDE (http://www.workplaceinnovation.eu/Your-Guide-to-Workplace-Innovation)..

"We’ve reached a tipping point in the future of jobs 2020. The digital skills gap is asking for the development of a growth mindset!" Presented at our event Industry 4.0, digitalisation and the people-centred workplace (http://www.workplaceinnovation.eu/announcements/industry-4-0-digitalisation-and-the-people-centred-workplace). Is your company ready for the future? Learn more about our programmes (http://www.workplaceinnovation.eu/LWIP), download our brochure (http://www.workplaceinnovation.eu/PDF/WIE-Leading-Workplace-Innovation.pdf) or contact us (http://www.workplaceinnovation.eu/contact-us) to find out more...

The event, Industry 4.0, digitalisation and the people-centred workplace, brought an amazing international group of companies and experts together to explore how successful organisations are engaging employees in digital transformation. The key takeaway was that technological innovation and innovation in work processes need to go hand in hand: “Digitalising a bad process doesn’t make it a better process.” Participants agreed that if companies allowed machines to be in control, it would result in expensive failure. But digital technologies can be designed and deployed to enhance operator information and decision making, creating optimal synergies with human skills and ingenuity. Event hosts Booth Welsh (https://boothwelsh.co.uk/), a leading provider of integrated engineering services, have been through a remarkable transformation themselves as part of our Scottish Enterprise Workplace Innovation Engagement Programme (http://www.workplaceinnovatio..