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Knowledge Bank Workplace Innovation

Best practices and other information about Workplace Innovation and Smart Working

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  • Author: Howaldt,J. et al.
  • Publication date: 3 October 2019
  • Date added: 2 November 2019

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Rating: Atlas of social innovation. 1th and 2nd edition.

Atlas of social innovation. 1th and 2nd edition.

2019 - Atlas of social Innovation, 2nd Volume: A World of New Practices, is the second part of the Atlas of Social Innovation. In 2018, the first Atlas of Social Innovation was published. It was edited by a research team from TU Dortmund University that worked with a worldwide community of practitioners, policy makers and researchers.

This second edition is a unique collection of knowledge from that
community about social innovation that aims to put the most urgent social
issues on the agenda and constantly develop new solutions to major problems. Social innovation will help people to cope with the socio-digital transformation. With this in mind, social innovation will increase the innovation competences of workers and the sustainability of society.
The Atlas II contains contributions from 43 experts in which the trends in social innovation are outlined and their relationships to other mindsets and research traditions set out.
This second edition also includes an article about workplace innovation,
which we summarize briefly below.

Complementing digitalisation with workplace innovation
In the contribution of Frank Pot, Steven Dhondt, Peter Oeij, Diana Rus and Peter Totterdill the concept of workplace innovation (WPI) is used for the whole of non-technological approaches to innovation. The objective of this paper is to show how digital technologies alone will not render organisations productive; first the organisation-concept must be designed to fit the abilities of the employees and then additionally the digital technology to support their work. The article describes three pitfalls. 

  1. Starting with technology; this will almost certainly lead to a suboptimal integration of work organisation and technology. Human-centered technology is the solution
  2. Management by algorithms; algorithms must be transparent and open to discussion between management and employees.
  3. Attention for skills only; T-shaped skills require T-shaped organisations and management based on participation and trust.   
The pitfalls can easily be avoided by starting with asking employees how work organization can be improved and how technology can support that.

2018 - The 'Atlas of social innovation' is the product of a project (SI-DRIVE 2014 - 2017) that was funded by the EU with the aim of increasing knowledge about social innovation as a driver of social change. Good examples from all over the world were involved in the project.

This Atlas contains a number of contributions on Employment and Workplace Innovation (WPI) that are important for this Knowledge bank. Below are the summaries of these pieces of the Atlas.

 

Workplace innovation as an important driver of social innovation
This is a contribution from Peter Oeij, Steven Dhondt, Frank Pot and Peter Totterdill. In the SI-Drive project Workplace innovation is one of the 'practice fields' within the 'policy domain' Employment.
The authors state that WPI is a change in labour organizations and companies that can have a significant impact on employee participation, the quality of their jobs and on sustainable employment for the workforce as well as for the productivity of labour organizations and their competences to innovate. They provide empirical data for this statement. WPI they say, can also contribute to solving social issues such as unemployment, employee representation, social dialogue and social cohesion. That is still underestimated in the current EU's innovation policy.

 
Social innovation in Western Europe: networks and programmes as drivers
In this chapter Peter Oeij, Steven Dhondt, Suzanne Solley and Amanda Hill-Dixon argue that policies that stimulate SI ecosystems are likely to promote the sustainability of social innovations. They show with examples how networks, individuals and groups were the driving forces of social innovation in Western Europe. 

Linking practice fields of social innovations in the domain of employment
Peter Oeij, Steven Dhondt and Wouter van der Torre state here that social innovations in the policy area Employment are scattered and isolated. As a result, they do not create enough critical mass for a lasting change in employment. In the 136 cases (from the SI-Drive's global mapping) they distinguish three practice fields: youth unemployment, social entrepreneurship and workplace innovation. The fight against youth unemployment remains entangled in 'old institutions', social entrepreneurship is mainly driven by charismatic go-getters and WPI remain hidden behind the walls of companies that fear competition. Policy makers must develop an integrated vision on social innovation in the field of employment that includes all stakeholders. This vision must link existing initiatives with the existing policy regarding employment, human resources, education and training. This applies to the level of work organization, labour market institutions and individuals and their communities.

Reference
Howaldt,J., Kaletka, C., Schröder, A. & Zimgiebl, M. (2018) Atlas of Social Innovation – New practices for a Better Future. Sozialforschungsstelle, TU Dortmund University: Dortmund.
A pdf of the book is attached.

Howaldt, Jürgen; Christoph Kaletka, Antonius Schröder, Martje Zimgiebl (2019) 'Atlas of Social Innovation. 2e Volume: AWorld of New Practices'.
München: oekoem verlag.

The articles of this second edition of the Atlas can be found via: www.socialinnovationatlas.net. See the press release attached.

Theme: Workplace innovation
Branche: n.a.
Source: Research report