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.

Explore the menu to discover more.

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.

 Contact Us

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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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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Workplace Innovation Scotland Lab

Fresh Thinking Labs in association with DS Smith, Argenta Dundee and Endura
are delighted to launch the Workplace Innovation Scotland Lab for organisations
building high performance through an engaged workforce.

The Workplace Innovation Scotland Lab is a closed network of organisations committed to exploring leading edge practice and identifying practical, evidence-based solutions.

Each event is hosted by a company showcasing specific areas of good practice. Visiting companies act as ‘critical friends’, acknowledging achievements but also highlighting areas for improvement and offering practical advice based on their own experiences.

Between each event, dialogue is maintained on the Fresh Thinking Labs platform on which a unique portfolio of case examples, articles and practical tools can also be found.

Download the brochure

Click on the tabs below to find out more, and sign up using the form below.

The Programme

Here is our unique programme of opportunities to learn, share and be part of fresh thinking in 2017-18:

DS Smith Lockerbie

1st November

DS Smith is a leading packaging company based in Lockerbie. The company has undergone a remarkable journey of culture change and workplace innovation involving open, inclusive and devolved decision-making and employee-led improvements in workflow and productivity.

Discover how coaching leads to enhanced problem-solving and communication amongst front-line employees, and how cardboard and pipe cleaners are helping to remodel the factory!

Argenta Dundee

14th December

Argenta Dundee has a great story to tell about leadership, culture change, team development and workforce engagement, as well as a change of ownership. The company has recently become part of New Zealand-based Argenta, a privately owned and an independent pharmaceutical contract manufacturing and R&D organisation.

Share the company’s journey of transformation and explore the importance of experimentation, learning and resilience in leading workplace change.

Endura Livingston

21st March

Endura has actively involved its workforce in improvement and innovation through a wide-ranging series of initiatives including open forums and process mapping, resulting in enhanced performance as well as higher levels of engagement across the company. Discover how these changes empowered production teams, leading to new roles for management and leadership.


  6th June
Cornerstone, a leading care provider in Scotland, has introduced an ambitious and highly innovative approach to self-managed teamworking, challenging traditional practices and creating a new, less hierarchical structure. Learn more about its remarkable journey.

All events run from 09.30 for 10.00 until 16.00.

Join us!

In addition to benefits described above, Fresh Thinking Labs companies in Scotland can enjoy:

Company-hosted visit programme 2017-18 A unique opportunity to visit Scottish companies with remarkable stories to share.
The Essential  Fifth Element Diagnostic The Diagnostic is a unique employee survey based on 62 evidence-based indicators, and enables organisations to identify the potential for improvement and innovation in specific areas of working practice. Includes a detailed Diagnostic Report and action plan template. In-house support by Fresh Thinking Labs experts is available at discounted rates to help interpret results and identify actions.
And, to ensure effective and sustainable organisational change . . .
Leadership for Workplace Innovation This ILM (Institute for Leadership and Management) accredited Programme guides participants through evidence, inspiring real-life cases and practical tools to support you in designing and implementing action plans for effective and sustainable change. It leads to the award of a Level 5 Certificate in Leadership for Workplace Innovation and can be delivered in-house or as part of a group programme with other companies.

Fee Structure

 Period October 2017 – 31st December 2018
£ (ex-VAT)
 Includes Company-hosted visit programme 2017-18 plus Fresh Thinking Labs benefits as described. Without Diagnostic With
 Companies employing up to 100 people 400 950
 Companies employing 101 – 500 people 750 1,500
 Companies employing 500+ people 950 2,500
 Dedicated post-Diagnostic expert support is available at a substantially discounted rate. Companies may be eligible for financial support from Scottish Enterprise – contact us for more information.
 Contact us to discuss rates for the ILM-accredited Leadership for Workplace Innovation programme: [email protected]

The Lab

Offers a sophisticated Diagnostic tool to help identify opportunities for improvement and innovation.

Enables participants to benchmark their own practices against each other.

Enables the sharing of good practice and ideas through facilitated workplace visits.

Builds active relationships with your peers in other organisations.

Creates a forum for collaborative innovation and problem solving.

Draws on experience from our network of leading companies from across Europe.

Suggests practical tools and resources for workplace change.

Provides access to expert guidance.

The Labs will be facilitated by:

Dr Peter Totterdill, an international expert, consultant, policy advisor and passionate advocate for workplace innovation. He is joint founder of Fresh Thinking Labs and Visiting Professor at universities in the UK and Lithuania.

Rosemary Exton, joint founder of Fresh Thinking Labs and an acknowledged expert in self-managed teams and employee-driven innovation. Rosemary has wide experience of enabling organisational change including the facilitation of dialogue workshops, action learning, and supporting those leading innovation.

Joining the Workplace Innovation Scotland Lab gives you access to Fresh Thinking Labs, the International Open Source Movement for Workplace Innovation, with access to a growing community of enterprises. Fresh Thinking Labs companies benefit from:

  • Personal introductions to other companies by experienced international facilitators.
  • Online search and matching based on interests and expertise.
  • Open Events, offering opportunities to learn from good practice cases and experts.
  • Live knowledge-sharing forums on member-identified themes.
  • In Person Labs: small, closed groups exploring specific issues or opportunities together.
  • Sharing and developing good practices through facilitated workplace visits.
  • A unique Online portfolio including research evidence, case studies and practical tools.

You can join using the form below, visit or request further information.

About us

Fresh Thinking Labs was created by Workplace Innovation Europe, an international not-for-profit organisation created to develop and share good practices in the workplace. Workplace Innovation Europe co-leads the European Workplace Innovation Network (EUWIN) on behalf of the European Commission and its Directors, Rosemary Exton and Professor Peter Totterdill, created The Essential Fifth Element as a practical approach to the introduction of workplace innovation in companies.

“I think today has been absolutely brilliant. Fresh Thinking Labs is about interaction and the whole concept of bringing businesses together to share their experiences in this way is ground-breaking and invaluable.”

Herman Kok, FD, Lindum Group

“The Fresh Thinking Labs concept is incredibly important because if you only rely on your own company and the people in your own organisation, then you’re very limited as to how you are going to develop innovation and engagement.

Coming together with other companies helps you recognise that we have similar problems and challenges. In some cases, other companies have actually tackled a problem you’ve got and come up with a solution that may have taken you months or even years to resolve.”

Malcolm Bond, MD, Rittal CSM

“The power of events of this nature is that you are exposed to things you wouldn’t normally be exposed to. It reminds you that if you only act on what you already know, you’ll never change. The concept of Fresh Thinking Labs exposes you to new ways of applying different thinking to an organisation and that’s the real power of it. I have learned a lot today – much more than I anticipated when I first arrived.”

Jeremy Ling, CEO, Bristan Group

Contact us

Rosemary Exton or Peter Totterdill
Telephone: +44 (0)115 933 8321
Email: [email protected]
Web: - -

Register below.

* Required

1st November 2017 - DS Smith Lockerbie
14th December 2017 - Argenta Dundee
21st March 2018 - Endura Livingston
6th June 2018 - Cornerstone

Companies employing up to 100 people (Without Diagnostic) £400
Companies employing up to 100 people (With Diagnostic) £950
Companies employing 101 – 500 people (Without Diagnostic) £750
Companies employing 101 – 500 people (With Diagnostic) £1500
Companies employing 500+ people (Without Diagnostic) £950
Companies employing 500+ people (With Diagnostic) £2500

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