challenge social innovation vienna 19 21 september 2011
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Workplace Innovation to achieve the EU2020 Strategy Frank Pot

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Conceptual confusion. Social innovation (EU)Sociale innovatie (sometimes: working smarter) (NL, BE)Social entrepreneurship (EU)Non technological innovation (Eurostat)Organisational innovation; new forms of work organisation Workplace development (FI)Innovative Arbeitsgestaltung (DE)Workplace

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conceptual confusion
Conceptual confusion
  • Social innovation (EU)
  • Sociale innovatie (sometimes: working smarter) (NL, BE)
  • Social entrepreneurship (EU)
  • Non technological innovation (Eurostat)
  • Organisational innovation; new forms of work organisation
  • Workplace development (FI)
  • Innovative Arbeitsgestaltung (DE)
  • Workplace innovation (FI, IE, UK, USA, EF, EESC, EP)
  • Innovative workplaces (OECD, EESC)
  • Sustainable work (systems) (SE)
  • High performance workplaces (USA, UK)
  • High involvement workplaces (USA, UK)
  • Social innovationof work and employment is about new responses to pressing social demands, which affect the process of social interactions. (aims: human well-being), including labour markets, social security, industrial relations
  • Workplace innovation is the implementation of new and combined interventions in the fields of work organisation, HRM and work relations.(aims: org. performance and QWL)
  • Non- technological innovation also covers dynamic management, new business models and marketing practices and external collaboration. (aims: org. performance)
social innovation in eu documents
Social innovation in EU documents
  • Development of new forms of organisation and interactions to respond to social issues, addressing:
  • Social demands not addressed by markets or existing institutions and directed to vulnerable groups
  • Social challenges of social and economic nature (climate, migration, ageing, poverty)
  • The need to reform society in direction more participative arena; empowerment and learning sources of well-being
  • Social enterprises: care for children, elderly, disabled; work integration long-term unemployed, disadvantaged groups; education (compare commercial companies in these fields)
  • Opportunity to enhance working environment (EP 2011)
  • Collaboration with companies possible (CSR); SME’s in CIP
social in social innovation meaning
‘Social’ in ‘social innovation’ meaning:
  • Complementary to technological innovation
  • Addressing societal problems
  • Directed at society as a whole and well-being
  • Solutions: new behaviours, institutional arrangements
  • Agency: voluntary and community based civil society organisations
  • Opposed to business innovation or economic innovation


  • Agency
  • Opposed to business innovation
  • Example: EU pilot ‘active and healthy ageing’
workplace innovation subject of social innovation
Workplace innovation subject of social innovation?
  • Regarding ‘workplace innovation’ there is probably a problematic match with EU social innovation. Opponents could say:
  • Although it could be considered to be a societal problem legislation and institutions (Labour Inspectorate, co-determination etc.) are in place
  • If workplace innovation implies a win win situation for organisations and employees why extra attention or subsidy would be needed?
  • This is primarily business innovation
  • Improving work organisation, working conditions and HRM is nothing new
social innovation of work and employment
Social innovation of work and employment
  • Societal demands that cannot be met by individual companies: inclusive labour markets including the ageing workforce, sustainable employability
  • Implementing workplace innovation is not self evident for organisations because of short-term perspectives, waiting for others to find out, fear to loose/share power
  • Responsibilities and logics of action are different for organisations and public authorities
  • To meet these demands cooperation is needed of public authorities, social partners, organisations, knowledge institutes
  • Supportive programmes help
concepts used in documents eu
Concepts used in documents EU
  • Social innovation: BEPA July 2010; Social Innovation Europe 2011; Marginal reference in Flagship Innovation Union 2010+ accompanying document 2010 and Flagship Skills and Jobs 2010; draft guidelines employment policies 2010; Resolution EP Innovation Union 2011
  • Workplace innovation/innovative workplaces: opinion EESC 2007, 2011; workshop launch event SIE 2011; OECD 2011
  • Non technological innovation: Eurostat; marginal in FS Innovation Union
  • New/innovative forms/patterns of work organisation: FS Innovation Union; FS Skills and Jobs; draft guidelines employment policies 2010; ESF 2010; OSH 2007-2012
  • Job quality and OSH: FS Skills and jobs; marginal in employment guidelines
workplace innovation and osh
Workplace innovation and OSH
  • Workplace innovation and occupational safety and health are different policies with different objectives and instruments. So is ‘decent work agenda’. Do not mix up.
  • Workplace innovation is not directed at fewer occupational diseases or accidents or less absenteeism although it might help
  • The overlap between workplace innovation and OSH regards ergonomics and work organisation as well as the effects for well-being, learning opportunities, prevention of work-related stress and physical workload, work-life-balance.
  • EU OSH policy refers to ‘healthy and productive jobs’
urgency for workplace innovation
Urgency for workplace innovation
  • Decreasing and ageing workforce – increasing labour productivity and including less productive people
  • Global competition and knowledge based economy – development of competences and skills
  • Making new technology work through innovative work organisation
  • Workplace innovation explains a larger part of innovation success than technological innovation does
national programmes
‘National’ ‘programmes’
  • Finland: workplace development
  • Germany: innovative Arbeitsgestaltung; Innovationsfähigkeit
  • Belgium: socialeinnovatie; Flanders Synergy
  • Netherlands: socialeinnovatie; slimmer werken (working smarter); NCSI
  • Norway: value creation
  • UK: workplace innovation
  • Ireland: workplace innovation
  • Sweden: management and work organisation renewal
  • Non existent in many countries of EU
  • Distinction between social innovation and business innovation is untenable
  • Social innovation and technological innovation are complementary
  • Social innovation of work and employment on the level of society refers to societal issues such as labour markets, social security, vocational training and industrial relations
  • Social innovation of work and employment on organisational level can be called ‘workplace innovation’
  • Workplace innovation refers to work organisation, employability and work relations
  • EU/national campaigns are needed and can be supportive