According to the Innovation Union Flagship Initiative, social innovation concerns the creation of new solutions to social issues and new social capital; it focuses on building new social relationships and models of collaboration while stressing on empowerment and engagement. Social innovation is about developing new forms of organisation and interactions to respond to social problems. It can address a social demand or need, contributing to addressing societal challenges.    

How work is organised and how people are managed in a workplace, has essential social and economic implications. Organisation of work has an important influence on the performance, productivity and innovation in products and services, laying required conditions for a stable and reasonable economic basis. 

Workplace innovation holds the key to enhance economic performance through creative approaches to sustainable competitiveness of companies and nurture the creativity of the employees in a harmonised manner. Most importantly, workplace innovation is not about the application of systemised knowledge by experts to the organisation of work. It is about building skills and competence through creative collaboration. It is about open dialogue, knowledge sharing, experimentation and learning in which various actors including managers, employees, customers, trade union and other stakeholders involved are given a voice in the creation of new models of collaboration, social relationships and innovation.

Despite the fact that workplace innovation enhances tangible economic and social benefits, it is not happening often enough in Europe at present, partially because it is also a social process which differs in each member state. Workplace innovation is at its most successful in a supportive environment in which key actors (public authorities at regional, national and EU level, research organisations and enterprises) jointly work on developing common dialogue and acquire diverse collaboration.

Measurement of innovation in the private sector is comparatively well advanced to the public sector. However similar information on innovation in the public sector is still very limited due to lack of quantitative evidence.   Public sector has a huge potential for innovation and is now perceived as a fundamental factor in addressing globalization and grand challenges but also stimulate business innovation.

Following an introduction into the workshop objectives and an overview provided by representatives of the European Commission on the different aspects of social innovation, the afternoon workshop will serve the participants to discuss how workplace innovation can improve and complement existing private and public services, and what kind of collaboration/partnerships can be envisaged, while taking into account theimportance of ‘innovative attitudes’ towards the social systems. The outcome of the workshop will be presented and further discussed during the Cocktail Reception with the Members of the European Parliament