Introduction

 

We began in 1997 because there were too few spaces where enterprises, employers’ organisations, trade unions, policymakers, professional bodies and researchers could come together, both to explore the future of work and organisations and to address the persistent “long tail” of those not making use of workplace practices that engage and develop the full talent and creativity of employees at all levels.

Since our foundation we have created a series of joint initiatives and projects involving diverse stakeholders, held regular pro bono events to share evidence and good practice, and has been a persistent advocate for national government and EU policies to promote better ways of working.

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Research and Evidence

 

Two things are clear.

Firstly there is a vast and growing body of evidence to show 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 of an organisation lead to better business results as well as enhanced workforce health and engagement.

Secondly it is equally clear that most businesses are either unaware of this evidence, or that they are unable or unwilling to act on it. Successive surveys demonstrate a substantial gap between research evidence of “what works” and common workplace practice.

We work with diverse stakeholders to:

  • Undertake high quality research into leading practice and emerging challenges relating to work and organisations. Current and Past Projects
  • Build bridges between research and practice through publications, events and the creation of the EUWIN Knowledge Bank as the leading European source of case studies, articles and other learning resources on workplace innovation.

We have also established Workplace Innovation Limited as a consultancy arm to help companies and public sector organisations create new and better ways of working which build on a vast body of research.

Explore the site to learn more about our surprising range of activities.

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Workplace Innovation helps improve performance and working lives by releasing the full range of talent, knowledge and creativity from employees at every level.

Organisational Health Check

A springboard to innovation


Our Health Checks are not about us telling you what is wrong or right with your organisation. They are about your people telling us what is wrong or right, what can be done better, what works really well and what doesn’t.

An Organisational Health Check acts as a springboard with the potential to release innovative behaviour, improve performance, enhance employee well-being and stimulate growth.

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Insight



We know the importance of listening to employees at every level in order to understand what is working and what needs to be improved.

Our reports based on employees’ own accounts of experiences at work provide boards and senior management teams with a powerful stimulus for change, and help to define priorities for action.

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Facilitating Change and Innovation

Breaking down walls and ceilings


Workplace Innovation is at the heart of performance, growth and employee well-being. Many see it but don’t know how to implement it.

We help organizations review improvement and innovation practices by breaking down walls and ceilings and creating dialogue across hierarchies and functions so that the better argument always wins.

Workplace Innovation’s facilitators work closely with leaders, managers and employees at every level, understanding their aspirations and strengths as well as what holds them back. We seek solutions co-created by all of the main stakeholders in an issue to ensure buy-in and to minimise resistance to change.


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Working with Boards and Senior Teams

Horizon-scanning, thought leadership and rehearsing the future


What will your business look like in 2024 and what will your role be in leading it?

Seeing the world in a different way should be on the job description of Directors. Change is happening and it can’t be controlled but it can be anticipated.

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Developing Emerging Leaders

From transactional to transformational


The demands of leadership are changing. At a time of significant challenge and opportunity, leaders and managers must drive improvement and innovation while motivation and energising employees. Emerging leaders must migrate from purely transactional management to proactive, transformational behaviour while current leaders must address the question of succession.

But where are the next leaders coming from and what skills and competences will they actually need?

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Interactive Theatre

Using drama to provoke thought and motivate change

Interactive theatre in the workplace is a real eye-opener. It helps to unlock employee engagement and creativity, one of the key challenges in securing successful organisational change, improving performance and enhancing working life – but it does it very differently.

You’ll see your organisations in a completely different and thought-provoking light.

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Presentations, Facilitation and Masterclasses

Stimulating, informing and resourcing innovation and change


Expert facilitation, engaging presentations, creative thinking and interactive theatre are just some of the ways we enhance and enliven conferences, time-out sessions, in-house training and team development workshops.

We can also deliver masterclasses and provide internationally recognised expert speakers covering all aspects of people centres change, employee engagement, high involvement innovation and leadership development.

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Transformational Coaching

Achieving a new culture


We know how to coach – we do it for a living. However, we are also on a mission to help managers and leaders become inspired coaches in their own right and to introduce a coaching culture to their organisations that will achieve sustainable benefits.

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Networking and Knowledge Sharing

Remember, you are not alone


Networking, knowledge sharing, the pooling of ideas and intellectual capital are the dynamics that underpin a sustainable movement of workplace innovation and provide all organisations looking to change and to challenge the future with access to the choices open to them and the experiences of others.

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Flexible ILM Leadership & Coaching Courses 

In-house and Distance Learning


Flexibility in learning is becoming increasingly important in employee development. We are experiencing a significant increase in clients needing a more flexible approach to the delivery of our ILM programmes.

Releasing staff to attend off-site public courses can cause problems for organisations, despite the obvious benefits of individuals from different backgrounds and industries sharing their experiences as they learn together. It is not always convenient for managers to block out days in their diary to attend sessions off-site, on dates that tend to be inflexible.

We recognise this and in addition to our public courses we are able to offer a range of flexible options to make it easier for organisations and individuals to access our ILM Leadership, Management and Coaching programme.

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Evidence into Practice
Introducing Multi-Disciplinary Teamworking to Maternity Services


The evidence has been around for a long time. Multi-Disciplinary Teamworking in healthcare leads to better clinical outcomes and experience for patients, and better quality of working life for staff.

Yet it is far from universal. Multi-Disciplinary Teamworking challenges traditional professional roles and demarcations, and can be hard to achieve. While the general principles that characterise good clinical teams are well understood, their translation into specific clinical settings involves open dialogue, experimentation, learning from failure, and persistence. All of this must take place without any relaxation of day-to-day clinical pressures.

This case study offers practitioners fresh insights into how Multi-Disciplinary Teamwork principles can be translated into practice. It is based on an eighteen month change programme led by Workplace Innovation in partnership with Southern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland.

The programme was led by Workplace Innovation’s Rosemary Exton, a highly experienced change facilitator with an extensive background in the NHS and knowledge of hospital practice in several parts of Europe.

The Workplace Innovation team was supported by the Workage project, an initiative funded under the EU’s PROGRESS programme. Views expressed in this report are not necessarily shared by Southern Health and Social Care Trust, the European Commission or other Workage partners.

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Watch our short film about the introduction of Multi-Disciplinary Teamworking in Southern Health and Social Care Trust


Putting Multi-Disciplinary Teamwork Principles into Practice

Working closely with a broad cross-section of consultants, doctors, midwives, midwifery support workers (MSWs), managers, administrators, domestic staff and other professional groups, we helped the Maternity Service translate the widely accepted principles of Multi-Disciplinary Teamworking into an approach which reflects its specific local and clinical context:


 

Small group teamworking at the frontline

Small group teamworking involves between two and five midwives allocated to work together in mutual support including knowledge sharing, debriefing and practical help such as the provision of cover for breaks. Groups reflect an appropriate mix of skills, experience and physical (or age-related) ability.

Shift Huddle

Each area and ward in the Maternity Department involves all staff at the start of every shift in ‘Shift Huddles’ to improve communication and to support allocation to the small group teams. Ideas raised at the Shift Huddle are put on the White Board to be discussed at the Team Talk meeting (see below).

Unit Huddle

This was suggested by a consultant in the Daisy Hill MDT Group. Doctors and senior midwives from the obstetric, midwifery and neonatal teams meet each day to enhance communication, addressing workload pressures and improving patient flow and quality of care throughout the maternity service. In a 5 or 10-minute meeting, all the clinical areas pool information, complete a (red, amber, green) risk assessment form and share awareness of pressing issues. To encourage their professional development, Band 6 midwives are supported to attend whenever staffing levels allow.

Weekly White Board Team Talk Meetings

Everyone in the multi-disciplinary team (including domestic and admin/clerical staff) contributes by adding ideas or suggestions to the ward or department White Board, and by participating in the Team Talk meetings. All available staff gather around the White Board each week to discuss its contents. The discussion is recorded and actions (with the names of those responsible) are noted in the Communication Book, accessible to all staff. Agreed actions are followed up at the subsequent weekly Team Talk meeting and taken to the next Monthly Team Meeting (see below) where appropriate.

Rosemary (centre) leads a process mapping exercise at Craigavon with Patricia and Jeni (right)

Monthly Multi-Disciplinary Team Meetings

Monthly meetings provide an important opportunity for shared learning from incidents, the generation of ideas for improvement, and discussion of forthcoming issues. Midwives are allocated on the duty roster to ensure high levels of participation at the monthly meetings. Ideas and suggestions are sent to the Divisional Meeting (see below) where senior level action is needed; feedback from Divisional Meetings is received by the Monthly Multi-Disciplinary Team Meetings and entered in the Communication Book available to all staff.

Multi-Disciplinary Learning, Training and Continuous Improvement

The two MDT Groups were initially envisaged as a short-term measure to drive the transition towards multi-disciplinary working. By mid-2016 they had evolved into Maternity Continuous Improvement Groups, providing a continuing forum for staff-led initiatives. In addition, a comprehensive programme of multi-disciplinary learning and training sessions was developed and is communicated to all staff to maximise participation.

Strategy, Clinical Governance and Risk Management

Regular meetings of doctors, managers and senior midwives draw on issues raised in the various multi-disciplinary forums described above. Risky Business open sessions are also held, facilitated by the Risk Midwife; all staff are invited to discuss risk issues or near-miss events in a ‘no blame’ environment.

Divisional Meetings

Senior managers, consultants and departmental leads meet monthly to address strategy and governance. Previously seen as remote from the clinical frontline, these meetings rarely secured participation from midwives in the past. They are now more inclusive and aim to ensure that strategic decisions involve two-way communication with frontline teams, both directly and through the chain described above.


Embedding Multi-Disciplinary Teamworking

The MDT structure described above reinvents generic teamwork principles to reflect local and clinical circumstances. It grew from dialogue, inclusion and experimentation, albeit in an environment where certain structural and behavioural factors acted as significant constraints.

The transformation of healthcare toward Multi-Disciplinary Teamworking challenges professional self-identities, power distribution and gender relationships. It involves extended periods of shared learning and the re-evaluation of assumptions held by co-working professionals.

Recent feedback shows that that many of the gains associated with Multi-Disciplinary Teamworking in the literature are now being realised in Southern Trust’s Maternity Service. As a final endorsement, the Directors of Nursing and Medicine have adopted the MDT approach developed by the Workplace Innovation team and staff in the maternity service as a template for improvement and innovation across every clinical service in the Trust.

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Rosemary and Peter presenting their experiences at Southern Trust to the 2015 IWOT Conference in Leuven

Latest News

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Gabriella Eberhardt, HR Leader at GE Mining, shares her impressions after our London event 'Transforming Culture at GE Mining'. 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 (http://freshthinkinglabs.com) Please contact us for further information!..

“Workplace Innovation: Creating Performance in the Public Sector” is a two day event organised by EIPA (European Institute of Public Administration) and is aimed at public sector managers who are looking to enhance their leadership skills while improving their ability to drive effective and sustainable change, whether at team level or across complex organisations. Following the European Commission’s EUWIN initiative (http://uk.ukwon.eu/) (European Workplace Innovation Network) that recognised the importance of Workplace Innovation as a means of improving performance and the quality of working lives, the conference is to be held in Maastricht in November specifically targeting public sector organisations. Peter Totterdill, Director of Workplace Innovation Europe CLG and a keynote speaker at the conference said: “For public sector managers who would like to learn how to lead more effective teams and departments, improve efficiency and service qu..

This week’s launch of the Taylor Review Report on Modern Working Practices (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/good-work-the-taylor-review-of-modern-working-practices) is particularly welcome because it refocuses attention on the workplace, and the importance of workplace practices for economic inclusion and health as well as for productivity and competitiveness. The references to “ways of working that support task discretion and involve employees in securing business improvements” are especially pleasing, though given the existence of more than seven decades’ worth of research evidence showing the impact of such workplace practices on health and business performance alike, it will be disappointing if they are lost within Taylor’s vast agenda. As in many such inquiries, the Review sidesteps detailed policy recommendations. This represents a serious missed opportunity, particularly in helping the UK government to understand how it can help ..