Agile Workplace Innovation

  • Thomas Papke
  • Dirk Nicolas Wagner


Agile methods, such as Scrum, first re-invented project management in software engineering. It then quickly spread into all kinds of areas and industries. Scrum is “a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems” (Schwaber and Sutherland 2013), and it changes the way work is done. It can be shown that Scrum is a suitable method to support Workplace Innovation. The concept of Workplace Innovation, described here with the ‘Fifth Element Concept’ (Totterdill 2015), comprises practices that empower and enable employees and that are beneficial for organisations. To obtain an understanding of how Scrum supports Workplace Innovation, guided interviews were conducted and analysed. Five practitioners of Scrum were interviewed, and the analysis was carried out using Mayring’s qualitative content analysis with an inductive coding. This article aims to gain insights into how and where Scrum can support Workplace Innovation, and what other factors have a significant influence. Scrum may not be a silver bullet, but it can be instrumental in supporting many elements of Workplace Innovation.