Editorial: Quantity and Quality?
Workplace Innovation and the European Union

Steven Dhondt & Peter Totterdill


The European Union’s Social Summit for Jobs and Growth held in Gothenburg during September 2017 was an event which, in the past, would have focused on ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ at any price. Policy makers wouldn’t have cared less about the nature or content of these jobs.

Yet on this occasion the Social Summit produced agreement on a ‘European Pillar of Social Rights’, which includes a stipulation that Innovative forms of work that ensure quality working conditions shall be fostered. This one clause gives EUWIN a solid footing for the launch of new policy dialogue, and indeed to hold the European Commission to account.

Innovative forms of work are a part of fair and well-functioning welfare systems in 21st century Europe. Likewise, workplace innovation is a necessity for European companies and public institutions, offering the potential to develop a truly European standard embracing growth, product and service innovation; skills development and utilisation, workplace health, and an inclusive labour market.

But it is not only DG Employment that is pushing the workplace innovation agenda. DG GROW has embraced the need to stimulate workplace innovation in recent years, and the Strategic 2016-2020 Plan identifies several promising actions. The Plan is clear that the prioritisation of open trade should not be at the expense of sacrificing European standards in the workplace. Europe should exploit the full potential of the collaborative economy and of emerging paradigms of innovation, including workplace innovation.

It is important to understand that the European agencies will not take the lead in promoting workplace innovation. The EU is sympathetic to our cause, but it leaves us as companies and other key stakeholders to drive the agenda forward.

We are part of a growing movement, and with your help and support we will help to transform competitiveness and employment quality in Europe. In this Bulletin you will find several opportunities to engage in this exciting agenda – and, as always, we welcome your ideas and suggestions.

And since we are sharing hopes for the future, we wish you all a fantastic workplace innovation year in 2018!