Dortmund-Brussels Position Paper 12th June 2012

2012 – The Dortmund-Brussels Position Paper is directed to the European Commission and signed on the 12th of June by 19 Universities, research institutions, agencies and networks of public and private organisations. 

Workplace Innovation is a social, participatory process which shapes work organisation and working life, combining their human, organisational and technological dimensions. This participatory process simultaneously results in improved organisational performance and enhanced quality of working life.

Importance1: Social Innovation in the workplace enables technological and economic innovations to take effect, delivering a productivity and innovation leap for private and public entreprises. Investment in Workplace Innovation would help the new Industrial Policy developed by the European Commission. Investments in organisational change are visible and show that ‘intangible’ investments influence up to some ten percent of economic growth (Corrado e.a., 2005). Consistent with earlier results of the Erasmus Competition and Innovation Monitor (2009) technological innovation by means of R&D and ICT investments determines 25% of innovation success, whereas social innovation (management, organisation and work aspects) determines 75% (Volberda et al., 2011). At the same time the data of the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS; Eurofound, 2012) demonstrates that workplace Innovation results in active work situations: workplaces and jobs in which workers have sufficient autonomy to control their work demands coupled to more discretionary capacity for learning and problem-solving. Overall, however, the number of organisations investing in Workplace Innovation in Europe is too small. Market forces fail to provide organisational decision-makers with adequate information and knowledge resources to understand and instigate Workplace Innovation.

What should Europe do?
· The EU should address the push, pull and uplift factors required to scale up Workplace Innovation in Europe. National and regional action based programmes should be stimulated.
· The current thrust of European research spending on ‘hard tech’ issues must be balanced by the development of Workplace Innovation. The Framework programme Horizon 2020should allocate thirty percent of the technology investments to Workplace Innovation investment.
·Direct support for new capacity and network building is required to pump prime actions in many Member States. A targeted transnational initiative should establish new coalitions and fund demonstrator projects in Member States currently lacking national programmes.
· Measurable performance targets relating to work organisation need to be incorporated within the Integrated Guidelines of the European Employment Strategy based on systematic data collection. Measures to raise awareness of the significance of work organisation should be targeted at ESF operational structures at national and regional level.

The full ‘Dortmund – Brussels Position Paper 12th June 2012’, is attached.