Innovating Works...
...Improving work and workplaces
 

For Employers

About the Workplace Innovation Tool & Feedback:

The Innovating Works… Workplace Innovation Tool is designed to encourage you to think about the way in which arrangements in your organization can support or limit innovation, and to focus your attention on areas where you may be able to unleash untapped potential in your own workplace.  The tool considers practices (both formal and informal), behaviours and attitudes, and focusses on issues that national and international research has identified as crucial to getting the most out of your current resources and, in particular, your people.

The Tool can be used anonymously and doesn’t make any judgements about your business – it simply highlights areas that could impact on your innovative potential and encourages you to think of new ways of thinking about these areas. 

What does the Workplace Innovation Tool do?

Drawing on research on workplace innovation, our Workplace Innovation Tool is structured around your organisations’ potential for innovation in line with the European Commission’s definition of workplace innovation:

Innovations in the way enterprises are structured, the way they manage their human resources, the way internal decision-making and innovation processes are devised, the way relationships with clients or suppliers are organised or the way the work environment and the internal support systems are designed.

Workplace innovation is a reflexive process, grounded in continuing reflection, learning and improvements, and involving employees and managers at all levels.

The Workplace Innovation Tool provides an overview of your organization’s current position along six key dimensions relating to workplace innovation and two dimensions relating to job quality and innovation outcomes. The eight key areas focus on

1. The design of the business: Organisational design– how hierarchical the organisation is, how good communications are, how ideas are shared - can support or hinder innovation.  Organisational design influences how well people work together, how flexible roles are and opportunities for sharing information and collaborating.

2. The way people are managed: HR practices impact on employee capability, motivation and development and these are related to innovative potential. Certain approaches to HR management are associated with innovation and can buffer the stress of innovation and change.

3.  How the business makes decisions and approaches new ideas: decision making is not just about formal processes, but also about managerial/supervisory relations and employee engagement, all of which can be related in innovative potential, as is the degree of openness of formal and informal decision making to new ideas.

4. How the organisation manages external relations (for example, with clients or suppliers): 

Scanning the environment and making the most of external relationships – by managing exchanges of information - can open up new ways of working, new ways of accessing resources and new market opportunities. 

5. The design of work and support systems: job design can support problem solving and creativity, while employee support systems can facilitate change and foster trust.

6. Attitudes within the business: attitudes to uncertainty, risk and enterprise impact on a business’s innovative potential and how well a business can respond to opportunities.

7. The quality of jobs in enabling innovation: inclusive and engaging workplaces can provide staff with good quality jobs that utilise their skills and develop their talents effectively enabling these staff, in turn, to deliver high levels of performance and future innovation.

8. The way the organization innovates: innovation is crucial to business and national productivity and to economic and social well-being. Productive organisations deliver on business growth, economic wealth and national economic outcomes, creating the opportunity and resource to support social policy priorities.

While some specific questions in the Tool may not be directly relevant to your business, most should be applicable to all businesses/organisations. The feedback you will receive is not good and bad; rather, it is a reflection of your relative performance in different types of organisational arrangements that can identify areas of untapped potential and areas where you show significant strengths. 

Ways of using the Workplace Innovation Tool

The tool can be used in a variety of different ways:

  • It can be filled in by one person who has good knowledge of the organisation

    • For the whole organisation

    • For different groups/departments/sites rather than the organisation as a whole

  • It can be completed by different people across your organization, and the results compared to identify variations in response by people in different occupations, for example, or variations in response between management and non-management employees.  

  • It can be used once to provide a snap shot of the business at a specific point in time

  • Or it can be used to monitor changes in your organization. For example, using your feedback today, consider what changes you can make (big or small) that might better engage your workforce to unleash their potential. Think of one or two key areas that might make a difference, and focus your attention there. After making small changes, monitor the results. Are you noticing changes to your workforce? Why not try the diagnostic tool again to see how your organization is doing. At this point, why not circulate the tool to your employees to see what they think?

However you choose to use the tool, it can help generate reflection and discussion of the characteristics of your organisation and how to identify and address key organisational challenges.

The tool can be completed by staff and managers with the results compared across your organisation. For a unique link to be completed by several people in your own organisation, please email us sbs-workplaceinnovation@strath.ac.uk.