User blogs

Inspiring business leaders are not hard to find, but survey evidence and experience suggest that they are not yet the norm.

Supporting business leaders to build the capability and competence required to survive and thrive in an increasingly volatile global economy starts with a clear and consistent view of leadership and leadership development, one that is informed by evidence and practical experience alike:

Empowering others

Earlier theories emphasised ‘transformational’, ‘charismatic’, ‘visionary’ and ‘inspirational’ leadership. Yet organisations seeking to engage the full range of workforce talent and to encourage entrepreneurial behaviours are abandoning such approaches in favour of shared and distributed (or ‘Co-Created’) leadership. This empowers everyone with the opportunity to lead in areas which reflect their own expertise or initiative, whether strategic, innovative or operational, while understanding and aligning their actions with those of others.

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Our experience of promoting fairer, more productive work dates back as far as the early 1990s. Together with our Dutch partners, we were the co-creators of the workplace innovation concept - which has now taken root in European Commission policy and in the economic strategies of several countries, including Scotland.

Workplace innovation sees organisations as systems of interdependent parts which need to be considered as a whole, leading to simultaneous benefits for businesses and their employees, and is evidence-based.

It includes:

  • good job design,
  • self-managed teamworking,
  • human-centred technologies,
  • employee-driven improvement and innovation,
  • flatter organisational structures,
  • coaching styles of management,
  • trust-based systems and procedures,
  • employee voice in decision-making,
  • shared & distributed (‘co-created’) leadership.
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Your fast track to leadership development and organisational change

Exeter: 9thApril (16.00) to 10th April 2019 (16.00)

An Immersive Workshop, full of fresh thinking and interaction
Followed by e-learning and online coaching
Leading to your ILM Level 5 Certificate in Leadership & Management


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Scottish Enterprise has announced the continuation of its nation-wide programme of workplace innovation Masterclasses confirming Scotland’s status as one of the most pro-active European countries promoting long-term sustainable economic growth through the development of inclusive and creative workplaces.

The contract to conduct the next 12 Masterclasses over a three year programme has been awarded to Workplace Innovation Europe Limited (WIE), a not-for-profit organisation which successfully delivered Scottish Enterprise’s Workplace Innovation Engagement Programme (WIEP) where 19 business were engaged in a ground-breaking combination of individual learning and development, peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge and experience, and on-site coaching and facilitation.

Download the Brochure

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What kind of shared future are we building for business and the economy?

Listening to the BBC yesterday on the UK Government’s plans for immigration policy after Brexit raised some interesting questions. The intention is to allow highly skilled and well-paid workers to gain employment in the UK while placing significant curbs on the entry of low-skilled migrants.

Of course, in comparison with its European neighbours, Britain has long been a low skill, low wage economy. UK firms are generally more inclined to organise work in ways that minimise skill requirements, and they have been comparatively slow to take up the high performance workplace practices that lead to skills enhancement. The result is a predominantly low skilled workforce with low aspirations and few opportunities to raise their qualification levels. Moreover, the system is largely self-perpetuating, with an educational, training and policy framework that reinforces the status quo.

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More than 60 Portuguese company representatives took part in an interactive workshop held in Porto where the experiences of two Scottish businesses were used to demonstrate the beneficial outcomes of workplace innovation and employee-led change.

The workshop was facilitated by UK based Workplace Innovation Europe Limited who introduced Doug Johnston, General Manager at DS Smith’s Lockerbie operation and Dundee based David O’Byrne from animal pharmaceutical business, Argenta.

Both companies have recently participated in Scottish Enterprise’s Workplace Innovation Engagement Programme (WIEP) which sought to help Scottish businesses introduce people centred change and action planning based on a novel combination of individual learning and development, peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge and experience, and on-site coaching and facilitation.

The workshop marked the launched of a ‘Portuguese Organisational Innovation Community of Practice’ with the aim of creating a high profile coalition of organisations who will promote the concept of workplace innovation amongst Portuguese companies.

It was supported by a number of high profile public and private sector bodies including employers’ organisations, chambers of commerce, universities and public sector agencies including the Portuguese National Innovation Agency.

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Two things are clear.

Firstly, a vast and growing body of evidence and experience shows 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 lead to better business results as well as enhanced workforce health and engagement.

Secondly there is a substantial gap between “what works” and what happens in the majority of workplaces. Most surveys suggest that only around 15% of private or public sector workplaces are making fullest possible use of evidence-based practices equally associated with high performance and employee health.

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Below are a few of the companies we've had the pleasure of working with.

Fresh thinking Labs offers access to a unique online resource portfolio including research evidence, case studies and practical tools including the Essential  Fifth Element Diagnostic - Online. Below you can find a few free resources to browse:


Try our Workplace Diagnostic - Online.


Fresh Thinking Labs the international open source movement for workplace innovation. Your pathway to the best workplace practices and latest thinking from across Europe and beyond.


Success in the new industrial revolution naturally requires that our industries use the best available technologies. But technologies alone are not the answer. Watch our 'Guide to Workplace Innovation' animation.


Watch our film about Workplace Innovation.


Workplace Innovation - Creating value



Interested to learn more? Fresh Thinking Labs is the international platform for company networking and workplace innovation, On Line  and In Person: www.freshthinkinglabs.com

Please contact us for further information!
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