Fresh Thinking Labs roadshow in Copenhagen from Naomi Imms's blog

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Fresh Thinking Labs roadshow in Copenhagen

On Tuesday 23rd August 2016, the Workplace Innovation team teamed up with the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) at its campus just outside Copenhagen, to offer a Fresh Thinking Labs roadshow to 15 companies. Participants from diverse industries including aerospace, defence, engineering, mobile technologies - and even a chocolate machine manufacturer! - gathered for this interactive event.

The DTI is a self-owned, not-for-profit organisation which works to develop and support the Danish business community, while offering benefits to society at large, through a combination of development projects, entrepreneur support activities, and collaboration with leading research and educational institutions. Members of Fresh Thinking Labs can find the the Danish Technological Institute, and connect with its members, via our Companies page.

Professor Peter Totterdill and Rosemary Exton from Workplace Innovation introduced The Essential Fifth Element to participants, as a means of describing the enabling, responsive and innovative culture that is so deeply embedded in some organisations, and sharing practical learning about how to achieve workplace innovation. Extensive research evidence demonstrates the benefits of workplace innovation in terms not only of organisational productivity and employee engagement but also its transformative effect on employee health and wellbeing.

The question clearly followed: if workplace innovation carries such benefits, why are companies and organisations everywhere not doing it? What blocks innovation happening, and how can organisations tackle these obstacles?

We looked at some case studies of innovative companies across Europe including Ederfil Becker, British Geological Survey, and Bristan and reflected on the practical methods these companies have employed to achieve both high performance and high quality of working life.

Participants shared experiences of "irritating obstacles" as well as inspiring practices from their own organisations, before individually completing a paper diagnostic to assess their organisation's practices holistically through the lens of The Essential Fifth Element.

Some key 'catalysts' for workplace innovation were explore: namely, trust, experimentation, resourcing, and dialogue. Fresh Thinking Labs was introduced as a way to stimulate the latter by sharing experiences, good practices, challenges and questions with organisations on similar journeys.