Do you remember when the universe was threatened by evil and the only hope for mankind is the Fifth Element who comes to earth every five thousand years to protect the humans with four stones of the four elements?
Luckily, a red-haired woman and a bald guy team up to retrieve the stones, protect the humans and save the world (plot and picture, see IMDB).
Well, in this blog entry, it is not about the universe but workplace innovation.
In the context of workplace innovation, the fifth element combines the other four elements of work (organisation, structure, learning, partnership) in order to empower and engage employees to contribute to more productive organisations and better places to work (see EUWIN).
Similarly, Peter Senge (see Smith 2001) talks about the ‘fifth disciplines’ and refers to learning organisations “where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together”.
What are workplace innovations?
There is no commonly agreed definition. For example, workplace innovations can be described as “strategically induced and participatory adopted changes in an organisation’s practice of managing, organising and deploying human and non-human resources that lead to simultaneously improved organisational performance and improved quality of life”. This definition combines economic and social goals (see Pot/Dhondt/Oeij 2012).
The combination of economic and social benefits is the reason why workplace innovations can be described as processes through which ‘win-win’ approaches to work organisations are formulated. Such approaches are good for the sustainable competitiveness of the enterprise and good for the well-being of employees (see Totterdill/Cressey/Exton 2012)
Working smarter improves business performance
Actually, the win-win outcome in cases of participative work practices lies in integrating the strategic knowledge of leaders with the tacit knowledge of employees. The mutally beneficial outcomes are proven by many studies (see Pot/Dhondt/Oeij 2012: 265f).
New forms of collaboration
By the way, the sexy redhead and the cool baldhead only save the universe after they fell in love with each other. However, workplace innovations do not require love but trust and participation of all stakeholders.
If you would like to learn more…
The European Workplace Innovation Network (EUWIN) regularly organises interesting events:
- Copenhagen, 29-30 April 2014: Trade Unions as Knowledgeable Participants in Workplace Innovation
- Vienna, 6 May 2014: Beating the competition with workplace innovation!
And the following articles provide useful insights:
- Pot, Frank / Dhondt, Steven / Oeij, Peter (2012): Social Innovation of Work and Employment. In: Franz, Hans-Werner / Hochgerner, Josef / Howaldt, Jürgen (Ed.): Challenge Social Innovation. Potentials for Business, Social Entrepreneurship, Welfare and Civil Society, Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London, p. 261-274.
- Totterdill, Peter / Cressey, Peter / Exton, Rosemary (2012): Social Innovation at Work: Workplace Innovation as a Social Process. In: Franz, Hans-Werner / Hochgerner, Josef / Howaldt, Jürgen (Ed.): Challenge Social Innovation. Potentials for Business, Social Entrepreneurship, Welfare and Civil Society, Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London, p. 241-260.
- Smith, M. K. (2001) ‘Peter Senge and the learning organization’, the encyclopedia of informal education, In: http://infed.org/mobi/peter-senge-and-the-learning-organization/ (24.4.2014)
For more info about the film check IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119116/