Employee Driven Innovation - an Organisational Challenge

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:45 AM
Room: 415
Oral Presentation
Anthony KALLEVIG , Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, OSLO, Norway
Tone Merethe BERG AASEN , Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Employee Driven Innovation - An organizational challenge

Anthony Kallevig, LO Norway

The Nordic countries are about to open there eyes for that employees in all sort of workplaces is an important an untapped potential of resources for innovation.  But many politicians, bureaucrats and top managers lacks the understanding of what it is and how to do it.  

During the last decades the technological paradox has influenced industry and innovation policies. Succeeding innovation strategies seems to base the rather one sided notion that essential ideas occur in laboratories and research departments.However a paradigm shift is in the process of getting approval.  Major social challenges, rather than more dispersed product priorities, have become evident, also in EU and OECD policies. The value of holistic approaches to innovation is emphasized, rather than a purely scientific and technological focus. And the importance of innovation in services, production and work processes is lifted up. This happens at the same time as the general level of education are rising, and businesses are hiring more people with skills to see and understand the wider contexts and to participate in resolving complex issues.

 As part of this, the Nordic countries adopted the concept of "employee-driven innovation" in their policies. This implies a recognition that the vast majority can and should contribute to innovation. Individuals represent a significant source of insight and problem solving, whether they work in a development device or have operating tasks. Experience shows that broad involvement of local shop stewards and staff in innovation processes has positive economic effects, but also provides benefits in terms of improved job satisfaction, further education and reduced absenteeism.

In Norway this development has been promoted by the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions. A paper will address Norwegian EDI challenges and experiences based on the Nordic work life model.