Current projects

We bring together practitioners, policymakers and researchers to promote and support sustainable competitiveness and high quality of working life through participative work practices. Here are some of the ways we are currently realising our aims:

Creative Workplace Group


Organisational improvement happens in creative workplaces. Creativity is an everyday behaviour with employees actively encouraged to contribute ways of improving the organisation through new products and business streams or better ways of working.

The Creative Workplace Group was a small, closed network of inspiring organisations from different sectors, each committed to building creative, versatile and productive places to work and to sharing experiences and problems with other members.

More details here. Members of the group can access the secure pages here




A case study for the OECD by Peter Totterdill


This case study describes a pilot programme designed to enhance employee skills utilisation in workplaces. The programme focuses on workplace innovation, in short the adoption of participative and empowering organisational and managerial practices which engage the talent and potential of employees at all levels more effectively than traditional approaches.

Innovative Workplaces was created in a country and a region with little previous history of public policy support for workplace innovation; it will be of especial interest to other OECD member states in which there has been a comparable absence of intervention, not least because the programme produced a substantial return on investment including well-documented benefits for the participating organisations, their employees and the wider economy. Innovative Workplaces also demonstrates the potential for effective policy innovation based on collaboration between different bodies, in this case an NGO, a national public body and a regional development agency.

The full case study is available here.



EUWIN – sharing knowledge and experience of workplace innovation across 30 European countries

After years of campaigning by UK WON and its partners, the EU has created EUWIN as a learning network involving enterprises, policymakers, employers’ organisations, trade unions and researchers. We’re delighted to be one of the lead partners and are playing an important role in communicating evidence about participative ways of working though events and online communications.

We are responsible for the creation of EUWIN’s Knowledge Bank, the leading source of case studies, tools, articles and other resources for stimulating, informing and sustaining workplace innovation.

Read about our events and activities here; sign up to receive EUWIN Bulletins and access the Knowledge Bank here.

EUWIN'S Knowledge Base


UK WON is also leading the creation of EUWIN’S Knowledge Base which sources case studies, articles and learning resources from researchers and practitioners across Europe.

The future of work and organisations


The UK WON Advisory Board report The Future We Want? Work and Organisations in 2020 was launched at the EUWIN London Conference.

The idea for this report emerged from a rich and lively discussion after a meeting of UKWON’s Advisory Board. Subsequently a large number of Advisory Board members, including representatives of employers’ organisations, trade unions, public agencies and universities, met on several occasions to share ideas and insight, and contributed further suggestions and material through a variety of online means. One thousand copies of the report have been sponsored by E.ON and an online version is available here.


A three year EU-funded project designed to test UK WON’s proposition that the retention and engagement of older workers can be improved by enhancing empowerment in the workplace for everyone.

Current policy debates about the need for people to work later in life are largely ignoring long-established evidence that employees’ health, job satisfaction and engagement are enhanced when they experience autonomy and respect at work, and when they are closely involved in decisions that affect their work and workplaces. It is reasonable to assume that these factors also influence the retirement decisions of older workers.

WORKAGE involves in-depth, non age-related interventions by the Workplace Innovation team based on The Essential Fifth Element and focusing on job design, self-organised teamworking, improvement and innovation, and workplace partnership.

Participating employers are the NHS Southern Health and Care Trust (Northern Ireland) and Stoke on Trent City Council. Results, especially the engagement and retirement plans of older workers, will be measured by staff surveys undertaken before, during and after the interventions. Control groups will be used to measure the impact of the interventions more precisely.

The WORKAGE partnership also includes Nottingham Trent University and a wide range of expert organisations, social partners and policymakers.

More Details here



SIMPACT with its twelve partners from ten European countries is an EU research project that aims to understanding the economic impact of social innovation. Social innovation brings together diverse actors to create new approaches to the empowerment and inclusion of marginalised and vulnerable groups in society.

SIMPACT will lead to:

  • an improved understanding of the functioning of markets, public sector and institutions for the marginalised and vulnerable;
  • stronger and more coherent concepts of social innovation including alternative business models for financing, distribution and employment;
  • a better understanding of the characteristics and mechanisms of successful social innovation;
  • public policy instruments and methods to enhance and measure the economic and social impact of social innovation.

Our team’s role is to explore the ways in which public sector innovation and new modes of policy design and implementation can support real and sustainable social change.



CI-Net is an EU Leonardo project that brings together creative industry clusters in Nottingham, Athens, Barcelona and Lisbon. Its aim is to facilitate shared learning amongst entrepreneurs and to explore the conditions for collaborative advantage within small firm clusters. The project includes an action-research based intervention in Nottingham’s “Creative Quarter”.

Read more about CI-Net

Past projects

Workplace innovation and workplace social dialogue


A concept paper for Eurofound on the relationship between direct and indirect participation in the workplace. Peter Cressey, Rosemary Exton and Peter Totterdill argue that partnership forums involving employees and/or unions can stimulate employee engagement in innovation and improvement in return for greater trust and empowerment.

The paper informed the design of the 2013 European Company Survey.

Read the Report

Green Employability

green employability

An EU funded project led by the National Offender Management Service in which UKWON is responsible for formative evaluation. The project is creating innovative pathways for ex-offenders from Community Payback to secure employment in the green sector. This involves rethinking the quality of work experience gained during punishment as well as the internal work organisation within Probation Trusts.

Read the Report

Participative Governance: the Hospital of the Future Project

This report was jointly commissioned by the National Centre for Partnership and Performance and the Health Services National Partnership Forum in Ireland. It was conceived as an inquiry into the nature of high performance in the acute hospital system. While the particular research setting for this report was that of Ireland’s acute hospitals, the findings are readily transferable to other areas of the health system and indeed have relevance for the wider public service.

The report focuses on roles and relationships between management, staff and unions, and how these affect performance and outcomes. Above all, the aim was to identify the conditions under which hospital staff at all levels can use and develop their knowledge, skills and innovative potential to the full to achieve quality improvement, sound governance and cost-effective care.

Read the Report

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.

Read More


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.

Read More

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?

Read More

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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& Networks

We are a not-for-profit organisation collaborating with public and private sector enterprises, trade unions, policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders to explore the future of work and organisations and to share good practice in the workplace.


Working with you

Workplace Innovation helps enterprises and their employees to improve organisational performance and working lives by releasing the full knowledge, skill and creativity of people at every level.


Workplace Innovation is an international company that bridges the gap between research and practice, spreading more productive and better ways of working across the UK and Europe.

We are the originators of The Fifth Element, an evidence based approach to workplace innovation and how it can transform your organisation.

Latest News and Events

Latest workshops provide a fasttrack to leadership development Described by one participant as “a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the current landscape of your organisation and develop ideas to drive innovation”, our recent Exeter workshop created such a great buzz that we’ve decided to repeat it – this time in Glasgow and Bristol. The Exeter event attracted companies as varied as including Johnson & Johnson (, Delt Services (, MBDA (, Futures Housing Group (, M-EC ( and Lightfoot, ( and we’re expecting even greater diversity at our next events. Several participants in the Exeter workshop used the event to kickstart their journey towards an ILM Level 5 Certificate in Leadership & Management combined with accreditation as Workplace Innovation Practitioners. Join us in Glas..

As a member of the 2019/20 Fresh Thinking Labs programme, you’ll visit some of Europe’s most innovative companies and meet highly experienced change leaders. Giant companies such as Scania ( and SMEs such as Dutch special needs cycle manufacturer Van Raam ( share a commitment to employee empowerment and a culture of innovation – and they’re willing to share their experiences. And you can even opt to use the programme to support your journey to an ILM Level 5 Certificate in Leadership & Management – your learning and reflections from the visits are part of the assessment. We’ve designed an exciting programme offering you the opportunity to learn from practitioners and thought leaders from several countries. Each visit addresses key workplace practices associated with high performance and great places to work, enabling you to share experiences and practical advice wit..

Recently we enjoyed some delightful and stimulating 'walk and talk' sessions with Edwin Van Vlieberghe (, until recently a Global Vice-President at Bombardier Transportation ( Standing in the middle of Grimspound (, a spectacular Bronze Age settlement on Dartmoor, Edwin pointed out that the unique effectiveness of #workplaceinnovation as a means of enhancing business performance and working lives lies in its insistence on leaders changing themselves as well as their organisations. He went on to share some inspiring experiences from his working life in the rail and automotive industries - and we look forward to hearing more from Edwin when we facilitate Scottish Enterprise's Workplace Innovation Masterclass (http://freshthinkingla..

Former Met Office consultant joins Exeter leadership workshop A diverse group of businesses and not-for-profit organisations from around the UK are gathering in Exeter next month to participate in an innovative leadership workshop programme aimed at providing leaders with the knowledge, skills and confidence that enable them to build high performing organisations by fully engaging their people. Led by Workplace Innovation Europe CLG (WIE), participants include Plymouth based shared services company, Delt Services (, Exeter based Lightfoot (, an award-winning, highly innovative vehicle improvement technology business, Midlands-based construction engineering specialists M-EC (, and Macmillan Cancer Support ( Futures Housing Group ( which manages over 9000 properties in the Midlands, and Stevenage based defence manufacturer MBDA (h..