User blogs

Date: Monday, 7th November 2016

Times: 12.00 for 13.00 (with lunch and a gallery tour) – 17.00
New Art Exchange, Nottingham, NG7 6BE

People leading change in different organisations benefit enormously from exchanging ideas and experience of ‘what works’ (and what doesn’t), by sharing problems and solutions, and by acting as ‘critical friends’ to each other.  This half-day workshop offers a rare opportunity to discover how a growing number of companies are transforming their working practices and culture in ways that lead to real improvements in productivity, performance, engagement and well-being. You will have a unique opportunity to assess workplace practices and culture in your company against some of the best examples in Europe, and to identify positive opportunities for innovation and improvement.

Over four hours this interactive workshop will:

• Examine the business case for ’workplace innovation’ as well as its impact on employee health and well-being
• Explore core workplace practices that lead to high performance and high quality of working life
• Identify international examples of good practice through short films and case studies
• Hear a stimulating in-person case study of engagement in the Lindum Group by its General Manager Warren Glover
• Enable participants to evaluate current workplace practices in their own companies and identify priorities for change and improvement
• Provide opportunities for participants to share ideas and experiences with each other
• Access a rich database of learning resources.

Attendees will also discover Fresh Thinking Labs, the international open source movement for workplace innovation, combining state of the art Online interaction with In Person opportunities for knowledge sharing. Fresh Thinking Labs is for everyone looking for ideas and practical support, building one-to-one and group relationships. It facilitates collaboration and knowledge sharing between members with common interests and challenges.

This interactive workshop will be led by Professor Peter Totterdill and Rosemary Exton from Workplace Innovation, the international not-for-profit organisation committed to spreading good practice in the workplace.

The workshop will begin with an introduction to the New Art Exchange and a gallery tour from 12.00, followed by lunch from 12.30.

Please note that up to two places per company are available at this event depending on availability, so please forward this invitation to a colleague to apply for the second place.

Find out more and apply here.

Launching Fresh Thinking Labs means an array of opportunities for the first wave of members to meet In Person and Online, build relationships, share experiences and create Communities.

Fresh Thinking Lab partners are currently working on the following Open Events and the programme will be further extended in coming weeks.

When and where Theme
Bristol UK
5th-6th October 2016
Employee-Driven Innovation
and devolved decision-making
Hosted by Saint-Gobain in its new FabLab
December 2016
Self-managed teams and empowerment Hosted by a leading Scottish company
February 2017
Employee-Driven Innovation
and ideation platforms
Hosted by a leading Danish research institute
April 2017
Empowerment in the workplace Hosted by two leading Basque companies
June 2017
Flat management structures Hosted by a leading Dutch company

We're delighted to invite you to the launch of our Open Event programme, to be hosted by Fresh Thinking Labs Founder Member Saint-Gobain at its new Bristol FabLab on 5th-6th October 2016.

Saint-Gobain, an advanced manufacturing company, was founded in 1665 and employs over 200,000 people worldwide. The Bristol plant has built a powerful approach to self-managed teamworking and employee-driven innovation, supported by a senior management team highly committed both to sharing their experiences and to learning from other leading companies. Its FabLab, opened in 2016, exemplifies the company’s belief in releasing the creativity and knowledge of its entire workforce. Read the article by Tom Francis, Saint-Gobain's Business Manager, here.

Themes for exploration and discussion identified by Saint-Gobain include:

How do you link employee driven innovation with customer focussed innovation?
How do you balance employee-driven innovation with the daily running of the business?
And how can you devolve effective decision-making in complex organisations?

Other themes will be identified by participants.

This highly interactive event will include:

• an immersive exploration of Saint-Gobain's philosophy and its approach to employee engagement and empowerment;
• sharing experience and practice with Saint-Gobain’s senior team and staff as “critical friends”;
• open forums to share issues and challenges identified by participants;
• "Talking Circles" with experts including leading international experts on high involvement innovation Professor John Bessant, Dr Penny Tamkin, and Professor Peter Totterdill.

The event will also launch the In Person Lab on Employee-Driven Innovation, a programme of company-hosted meetings for a closed group of members.

Practical stuff

The event begins with lunh at 12.30 on Wednesday 5th ending at 14.00 after lunch on Thursday 6th October 2016. Accommodation and a Networking Dinner will be booked for delegates in a nearby hotel (extra cost £200).

This event is open to members of Fresh Thinking Labs.

Company Standard membership starts at £750 / €950 per annum and provides you with 2 Member Accounts. It includes one place at each Fresh Thinking Labs Open Event as well as access to our state of the art Online platform and learning resources;

Company Plus at £1800 / €2200 per annum provides you with 10 Member Accounts and gives you three places at each Fresh Thinking Labs Open Event as well as the benefits enjoyed by Company Standard Members;

Company Premier at £5000 / €7000 per annum enhances these benefits by offering up to 20 Member Accounts, five places at each Fresh Thinking Labs Open Event and free access to all In Person Labs.

Places are limited! Please apply by emailing telling us your full name, email address, company and company website, and which category of membership you are interested in. We will then be in touch with confirmation, and more details about how to pay.

What is workplace innovation? And how do you create a system of working practices that leads to high performance and high quality of working life?

The Essential Fifth Element was created precisely to help organisations of all types answer these questions. It builds on in-depth analysis of literally hundreds of research articles and case studies, as well as on much practical experience of stimulating and supporting workplace innovation.

Business and organisations looking to enhance the quality of their leadership practices, improve employee engagement and strengthen job design and teamworking can now benefit from a free on-line diagnostic tool based on The Essential Fifth Element, to help them assess their workplace innovation progress.... more

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.

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