This week I hosted an event at the Parliament with the Commission to launch the European Workplace Innovation Network (EUWIN).
What became clear during the meeting was that Europe’s businesses are confronted with multiple challenges stemming from increased global competition, the fast pace of technological progress and demographic trends. The recent economic and financial crisis, which hit all Member States and regions in the Union, has compounded the situation.
The meeting discussed the dramatic effect bad working practices can have, not just on the profits and efficiency of the businesses, but the psychological and physical health of employees and employers.
The European Workplace Innovation Network hopes to be a concrete tool for that purpose. EUWIN will stimulate workplace innovation in Europe by connecting stakeholder from all relevant backgrounds possible, such as businesses; trade unions and employers’ federations; politicians and decision-makers at EU level, in countries and in regions; academic communities; consulting firms; chambers of commerce and industry; business schools and other relevant stakeholders. In that perspective, building on existing structures (national/regional networks, universities’ communities) and pro-actively disseminating their know-how.
While tackling socio-economic problems is primarily the responsibility of national and local government, the EU can play a role in identifying barriers to change and ways of overcoming them, ensuring that existing EU level rules are complied with, stimulating sharing of good practice and mutual learning, and supporting social innovation and Europe-wide approaches.
Workplace innovations are often underappreciated. Yet, they can be very important for the competitiveness of a company, especially small and medium size enterprises.