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.

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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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Scotland leads the way in developing great businesses

How can Scotland’s Fair Work Framework lead to sustained enhancements
in both business performance and quality of working life?

Our vision is that, by 2025, people in Scotland will have a world-leading working life where fair work drives success, wellbeing and prosperity for individuals, businesses, organisations and society.
Fair Work Framework 2016

Join us at one of the highly interactive workshops that we’re facilitating (jointly with BITC Scotland) on behalf of the Scottish Government. They're designed to provide an introduction to workplace innovation and its business benefits, as well as offering participants an opportunity to help shape the Government’s Fair Work Action Plan.

Each workshop will be led by international experts Peter Totterdill and Rosemary Exton, plus an inspiring story of transformation told by one of Scotland's business leaders.

Next dates and venues are:

  • Stirling – 20 November, 09:00-12:00. Mairi Martin (Leader Cornerstone Central) demonstrates the transformational leadership that inspired radical change in her organisation, leading to win-win outcomes for the business, its staff and its clients. Book here.
  • Dumfries – 21 November, 09:30-12:00. Aimee Doole (Marketing and Communications Manager, Booth Welsh) will show how this engineering services company gained a competitive edge by harnessing the ideas and creativity of its employees, leading to widespread business improvements and a more engaged workforce. Book here.

Join the conversation and add your comments here!

You might also wish to become a ‘Fair Work Ambassador’, and details can be found here. The goal is to build an influential Ambassador network committed and resourced to advise Government and other stakeholders, to advocate Fair Work principles and workplace innovation practices, to speak at events and through the media, and to recruit other Ambassadors.

Contact us if you’d like to discuss further.

Why does Fair Work matter?

Fair Work lies at the heart of the vision for Scotland’s economy. It promises win-win-win outcomes for companies, their employees and society as a whole. – prosperous businesses, good jobs and an inclusive labour market. n 2016, Scotland’s Fair Work Convention, comprising a cross section of employers, trade unions, policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders published the Fair Work Framework. It argues that five core principles should drive the development of Scotland’s economy: employee voice, job security, opportunity, fulfilment and respect.


It’s almost a cliché to point out that the world is changing quickly, and that businesses need to adapt and become much more versatile if they are to thrive in this increasingly volatile environment.

And survival isn’t compulsory.

So the challenge is to ensure that the organisational structures, working practices and cultures of our companies unleashes this potential to reflect the demands of the twenty-first century.

Our table below shows how the Framework’s core values are aligned with the transition from traditional workplaces characterised by rigid and top-down structures, to the versatility and engagement required to compete and survive in an innovation-driven economy:

We see the principles of Fair Work operating at two levels. There are the baseline factors which form the foundations of Fair Work and are widely recognised as the mark of any good employer. These include constructive employment relations, effective information and consultation arrangements, a commitment to equality and diversity measures, learning and development opportunities, fair remuneration (including the Real Living Wage), flexible working, positive working relationships, and a presumption of employment stability. These factors do not in themselves lead either to high performance or to great places to work, but they provide the necessary preconditions for those that do.

The key concept here is workplace innovation. It describes workplace practices and cultures which lead to significant and sustainable improvements in both organisational performance and employee engagement, well-being and opportunity. It is the realisation of Fair Work principles in practice.

With a strong basis in evidence, workplace innovation is also a very practical concept. It includes all those factors that enable employees at every level to use and develop their knowledge, skills and creativity to the full, including how their jobs are designed, the teams they work in, the technologies they use, their opportunities to contribute ideas and to take part in improvement and innovation, how their performance is measured, and how their managers and leaders act.

Our team and its partners co-created workplace innovation as a concept and it’s spreading. It is part of the EU’s strategy for innovation and competitiveness, and has been adopted by governments in several European countries, including Scotland, as a means of boosting economic growth and quality of working life.

We found four distinct bundles of workplace practices (or ‘Elements’), each associated with high performance and workforce health and well-being:

  • Jobs and Teams
  • Structures, Management and Procedures
  • Employee-Driven Improvement and Innovation
  • Co-Created Leadership and Employee Voice.

Download our free Guide to Workplace Innovation for a fuller explanation.

The figure below shows how baseline factors and workplace innovation practices interact to create high performance and high quality of working life when Fair Work becomes part of a company’s values and mission, supporting the delivery of its strategic goals and objectives:


Making it happen

Change is rarely a straightforward linear exercise. It usually involves experimentation, failure and a willingness see failure as an opportunity for learning and development. It requires consistency of purpose combined with a willingness to rethink the vision and objectives set out at the start of the journey. The more you try to change an organisation, the more you learn about it and the higher you raise your aspirations. Your understanding of the nature and extent of the change required will certainly deepen as the journey progresses.

Above all, it means making change happen with people, not to people. They have the knowledge, experience and creativity that can make change happen, and make it stick.

Use it!

Contact us!

Workplace Innovation Limited is a not-for-profit organisation created specifically to stimulate and share better ways of working that lead to enhanced performance, higher levels of innovation and better working lives.

We are a dedicated, passionate and highly experienced team, led by:

Peter Totterdill, an international expert and practitioner in workplace innovation, and a Visiting Professor at Kingston University and Mykolas Romeris University Vilnius.

Rosemary Exton, who builds on many years’ experience as a clinician, manager and trade unionist in the NHS to help organisations in many sectors achieve effective and sustainable change.

Let’s talk!   e: [email protected]  w:

 Get in touch if you wish to find out more

Join the conversation

How should the Scottish Government promote Fair Work?

What support do businesses need to adopt Fair Work and workplace innovation?

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