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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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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Boosting company performance through employee engagement

Improving productivity, increasing the capacity for Innovation and enhancing employee health and well-being is now widely recognised by business leaders and policymakers alike as a priority. An initiative spearheaded by Scottish Enterprise has helped to demonstrate both that there is a real appetite for change, and that targeted support can lead to tangible business benefits.

Scottish Enterprise’s Workplace Innovation Engagement Programme (WIEP), which began in 2016, aims to support companies in the adoption of workplace innovation practices. Workplace Innovation Europe CLG (WIE) was commissioned to deliver the programme, which is based on a novel combination of individual learning and development, peer-to-peer exchanges of knowledge and experience, and on-site coaching and facilitation. Companies have particularly valued opportunities to collaborate with each other, sharing good practices, acting as ‘critical friends’ and working together to solve common problems.

Results from two cohorts totalling 19 businesses, representing considerable diversity in terms of size, sector and geographical location, have just been analysed.

The endgame was to introduce workplace practices that enable people to use and develop all their knowledge, skills and creativity in their day-to-day jobs. However, after recruiting the initial cohort, the first step was to identify what needed changing and what needed improving in each of the businesses.

Using their specially developed diagnostic tool, WIE was able to establish what was working in each of the participating businesses and what wasn’t. The Workplace Diagnostic is an on-line employee survey designed to assess a broad spectrum of workplace practices. Employees and managers were asked to identify experiences of four ‘Elements’ of workplace practice including Jobs and Teams; Structures, Management and Procedures; Employee-Driven Improvement and Innovation; and Co-Created Leadership and Employee Voice.

The survey provided the participating companies with fresh insights into the state of working practices in their own organisations, sometimes delivering ‘sobering’ results as well as revealing discrepancies between senior team perceptions and the reality experienced by employees. Companies particularly valued the way that results were broken down by teams, divisions and occupational groups helping them to target interventions effectively.

Participants were then supported to develop an Action Plan based on the Diagnostic survey findings. Typical Plans included: flattening the existing hierarchy and pushing decision making to the lowest appropriate level; defining organisational values and behaviours; implementing self-directed team working; creating empowered, cross-functional teams based on workflow rather than silos; establishing innovation forums and continuous improvement groups; rethinking traditional leadership and management roles, responsibilities and accountabilities; and enhancing skills development and utilisation, training and coaching plans.

WIE Director, Dr Peter Totterdill explained that WIEP is a means of strengthening pre-existing change and improvement initiatives. “The businesses had different problems to contend with. Some faced a particularly challenging business environment while others were experiencing a growing awareness of how employee involvement and participation can enable better business performance.

“Many of the participants knew exactly where their organisational problems lay but had little idea of how to deal with them. We had invited two employees from each company to participate in the programme and act as catalysts in developing and implementing workplace innovation. It was intended that one participant should represent senior management, lending the weight of their authority to the change initiative; the other should be the leading ‘change entrepreneur’, stimulating and steering the process on the ground.

“The outcomes were overwhelmingly positive. What we were seeing was that a growing understanding of workplace innovation and the specific practices that lead to employee engagement were beginning to drive new and exciting approaches in the companies. Through a combination of participative workshops, the results of the diagnostic survey, exposure to good practices and evidence, exchanges of experience with other businesses, individual learning and on-site facilitation, each business was beginning to develop a clearer path to follow in their pursuit of positive change.

The Lockerbie operation of packaging firm DS Smith began to involve staff on the factory floor in decision-making. They improved communications and feedback to employees and introduced inclusive morning meetings and visual shift hand overs which greatly facilitated problem-solving.

Argenta, a Dundee based veterinary product manufacturer, introduced more effective communications recognising the importance of getting people focused on the things that were stopping them doing their job better. They also recognised the importance of breaking down silos and getting teams working better together. This included getting the leadership team around the floor and pushing decision-making down to the lowest possible level.

The Perth office of insurance multinational Aviva embarked on a large-scale transformation process designed to challenge ‘old school culture’ and to create a more customer-focused environment. This included strengthening staff involvement especially in terms of shared learning and in improvement and innovation relating to products, services and processes. It was anticipated that this would reduce staff turnover and increase staff commitment to gaining professional qualifications.

At social care provider Cornerstone, a new business model based self-managed teams and new role definitions was introduced based on a flattened structure and the introduction of self-directed teams throughout the organisation.

Some participating companies focused on personal development for those playing a key role in change and took advantage of the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) qualifications available. Others introduced empowered teamworking and less micro-management aiming at more effective approaches to performance improvement, enhanced cross-functional collaboration and flatter structures.

“We experienced the full range of workplace behaviours and practices that stifle positive change and create persistently poor working environments. These can include ‘invisible’ leadership and top-down decision-making; no employee voice; a blame culture; silo management and lack of communication; lack of individual discretion and flexibility; no mechanisms for staff to contribute to innovation or improvement and no means of celebrating success.

“However, we also experienced a lively determination to identify problems and root them out though positive change. We saw process improvements leading to faster throughput time, improved efficiency, more effective problem solving, enhanced competencies and/or greater capacity for innovation. In several cases, silo working has been reduced by enhanced collaboration between functional departments, leading to less bureaucracy and fewer conflicts or delays. By empowering teams, time previously spent on micro-management is freed up, leading to greater agility and speed of response.

Each of the companies has also instigated mechanisms for stimulating and utilising employee ideas for product, service or process innovation, unleashing the potential for further wealth generation well into the future and each has reported improved levels of engagement and a developing culture of continuous improvement.”

The programme has demonstrated three identifiable outcomes. Firstly, the positive responses from nineteen very different participating companies shows that there is a real appetite for change once they are furnished with the right tools, knowledge and practical support.

Secondly, it also demonstrates the need for a clear mechanism to kickstart the process of change and alert businesses to practical, achievable and evidence-based ways of addressing the challenges they face.

Clare Alexander, Head of Workplace Innovation at Scottish Enterprise said;

“With slow productivity growth affecting many Scottish businesses, and characterising businesses of different sizes and sectors, this clearly requires new thinking about what can be done to make more businesses competitive and to tackle the long tail of businesses under-performing.

“The WIEP programme is one of a number of support services provided by Scottish Enterprise to help companies implement innovative, fair and responsible business practices, and I am delighted to see the benefits that the participating businesses are reporting.

“The critical issue for us is to help employers create the conditions for fulfilling work which is meaningful to individual workers and can create a sense of pride and interest in what they do. Evidence indicates that pursuing a smarter people-centred approach to work, which secures participation and fairness will reap significant business benefits.”

Would a similar programme benefit your organisation?

Our Leadership for Workplace Innovation Programme can be delivered in-house or to a group of companies sharing the journey together.

Download our brochure or contact us.

Why not join us at one of our unique Fresh Thinking Labs Events

The Good Work and Mental Wellbeing Lab

University of Exeter - Monday 13th August

University of Exeter will be our hosts and we look forward to learning about their wellbeing programme. We welcome Dawn Bailey, Strategic Health, Safety and Wellbeing Consultant (Neighbourhoods, Events & Sportsgrounds) - who will be talking about her recent studies and work at Cornwall Council.

Fresh Thinking in
Mental Health

Brighton, UK - TBA

An interactive conference bringing together experts and experiences from several employers across the UK and other European countries.

Innovation Intensive

Brighton, UK - TBA

Three days of workshops designed to provide you with practical tools and methods to stimulate and guide change in your organisation, including one-to-one and group mentoring. This à la carte programme combines expert-led masterclasses, forums and workplace visits.

 Get in touch if you wish to find out more

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