Closing the Gap: The Fifth Element and Workplace Innovation

  • Peter Totterdill


Growing evidence shows that workplace innovation practices which empower employees tomake day-to-day-decisions, challenge established practices, contribute ideas, and be heardat the most senior levels, lead to better business results, as well as enhanced workforcehealth and engagement. Most businesses are either unaware of this evidence, or are unableor unwilling to act on it. Surveys demonstrate a gap between “what works” and commonworkplace practice.We lack an easily communicable way of sharing actionable knowledge, generated by diversebodies of research and experience, with enterprise-level decision-makers, publicpolicymakers and other actors. We need a “joint intelligence” shared by all stakeholders inthe workplace, and at the wider economic and social level. This task has been taken up byUK WON and its partners in the European Workplace Innovation Network (EUWIN).The literature emphasises the importance of internally consistent policies and practices inachieving superior outcomes for organisations and their employees, greater than the sumof individual measures. The Fifth Element captures this essential quality, providing aframework for the creation of sense-making narratives that build bridges betweenresearchers and practitioners.