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Knowledge Bank Workplace Innovation

Best practices and other information about Workplace Innovation and Smart Working

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  • Author: Diana Rus, Angela Carter, Colin Roth (Eds.)
  • Publication date: 15 May 2019
  • Date added: 15 May 2019

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Rating: InPractice, Workplace Innovation, special edition, vol.02.

InPractice, Workplace Innovation, special edition, vol.02.

2019 – This is the second ‘special issue’ on Workplace Innovation (WPI) and Social Innovation that is published by the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychologists (EAWOP). The first edition is also enclosed in this knowledge bank.  

Brief overview
In the editorial Diana Rus (editor) presents an overview of the content of this volume on Workplace Innovation. She notes in advance that the interest in WPI in circles of Work and Organisational Psychologists has grown remarkably in recent years. In 2017 a special issue on the topic could be made easily and there were enough articles left to complete a second one. Also in this psychologists, researchers and practitioners realise that technological innovation should be complemented with non-technological innovation (i.e., workplace innovation and/ or social innovation) to realise prosperity and wellbeing.
Volume 2 present 5 articles; it is a multidisciplinary collection that combines theory, empirical research and practice.

The first article is a theoretical paper, by Tuomo Alasoini examining ways of increasing the effectiveness of work organization development programmes (i.e., WPI programmes) aimed at improving both productivity and the quality of working life. Based on previous work on institutional entrepreneurship and system transitions, the author develops a theoretical framework for analysing the likelihood that work organization development programmes would be successful. Subsequently, he engages in a discussion of how the framework could be used to develop programmes that are more likely to be successful in achieving both improvements in productivity and the quality of working life.  

Next piece is written by Robert van Doorn, Gerjo Kok and Robert Ruiter. The authors identify a prevalent problem in the work on WPI, namely, that the currently available methods for WPI and social innovation implementation lack the level of detail necessary for practitioners to be able to apply them directly in their local contexts. Therefore, they propose a practical tool, namely, the intervention mapping protocol as a potential approach to develop, implement and evaluate sustainable WPI interventions in organizations. The authors clearly outline the different steps of the mapping protocol. They conclude with a discussion of the benefits of using a systematic approach to create lasting change in both performance and quality of working life in organizations. 

The third contribution to the volume is a case study by Liv Starheim, Peter Hasle, Per Langaa Jensen, and Birgitte Juul Diekmann. The authors describe an intervention aimed at improving the psychosocial environment in six Danish hospital wards. They developed value-stream mapping combining workflow analysis from the Lean methodology with well-being improvement activities. Employees are actively involved in all the different stages of the process. The authors find that this enabled employees to identify and implement work process improvements, which had positive effects on both employee well-being and productivity. However, they caution that external facilitator assistance is most likely necessary for the successful implementation of the intervention. 

The next paper by Alvaro Figueredo and Rashedur Chowdhury presents a case study in Guatemala that exemplifies a combination of workplace innovation and community-based entrepreneurship. Specifically, the authors present the case of Ecofiltro and its founder, Philip Wilson, who pursued the goal of providing 1 million families in Guatemalan rural areas with clean water by 2020. The authors outline how a visionary leader used a new business model to implement workplace innovations and involve local community leaders in spreading the usage of a water filter, thereby, enabling poor families to have access to clean water. The main conclusion the authors draw is that community-based entrepreneurial ventures can achieve societal impact and solve local problems by co-opting a wide network of stakeholders to work towards a common goal.   

Lastly, Katharina Lochner, Achim Preuss, and Richard Justenhoven present three interesting studies aimed at developing an online creativity test. They argue that selecting creative employees as well as developing creativity in one’s employees is crucial for workplace innovation. Nonetheless, the existing creativity tests tend to be paper-and-pencil based rendering them time-consuming, expensive and less than objective. To this end, they developed and tested an online creativity test that uses a fully automated scoring algorithm, optimised for unsupervised settings and that can be applied across borders as it is language-independent. 

Reference
InPractice. ‘Workplace innovation’. Special edition, vol.02. The EAWOP practioners e-journal, 2019 issue 11. Diana Rus , Angela Carter, Colin Roth (eds.).
The volume can be found by: http://www.eawop.org/news/inpractice-2019-special-issue-publication.

See for the special edition on Workplace Innovation 01.in this knowledge bank: www.workplaceinnovation.org/nl/kennis/kennisbank/special-issue-of-eawop-in-practice-focusing-on-work-place-innovation/1337?q=EAWOP

Themes: Workplace innovation, International
Sector: n.a.
Source: articles