Workplace innovation gains new momentum in Portugal

Participants who attended a special EUWIN strand of the ICIEMC Conference in Aveiro on 2nd May are working towards the creation of a Portuguese Workplace Innovation Alliance that brings employers’ organisations, trade unions, policymakers and researchers together. 

EUWIN’s March Bulletin highlighted the need for Portuguese companies to speed up the adoption of participative working methods to support economic recovery, business performance and employee wellbeing. 
COTEC’s Isabel Caetano highlighted the importance of organisational factors in driving innovation of Portuguese companies in her keynote speech. Around 22% of innovation performance is influenced by these factors.

The workshop heard from Philips Portuguesa, Powerblades and Jason Associates, three Portuguese companies with diverse experiences of workplace innovation. 

Steven Dhondt (TNO/EUWIN), Frank Pot (President of EUWIN’s Advisory Board), Peter Totterdill (UK WON/EUWIN) and Manuel Ortigao (European Foundation) explored the importance of workplace innovation for business and employees, both in Portugal and Europe as a whole. 

Delegates also saw EUWIN’s animated film The Fifth Element

A final panel session included Jorge Gaspar (Institute for Enterprise and Professional Training), Isabel Caetano (COTEC), Raquel Aranjo (Portuguese Employers’ Association) and António Pinheiro (UGT trade union). A wide ranging discussion explored practical ways of helping businesses in Portugal to become better, more productive places to work.

Conference organiser Irina Saur-Amaral (IPAM) said “Today’s workshop has exceeded our expectations in terms of raising awareness and motivating participants to promote workplace innovation in Portugal. It is now up to us all to drive the process forward through partnership with policymakers, social partners and others”.

The next steps will include:

  • Creation of an Aveiro Declaration, championing the importance of workplace innovation for Portuguese enterprises and workers.
  • A high-level roundtable in Lisbon to explore the roles of policymakers and social partners in stimulating and resourcing workplace innovation amongst Portuguese firms.
  • Engagement with the Community of Practice established by COTEC (Portugal’s to integrate workplace innovation within the forthcoming National Innovation Programme.
  • A Workplace Innovation Masterclass in Portugal during September led by EUWIN’s Peter Totterdill.
  • Participation by a Portuguese delegation in EUWIN’s Sofia Conference on 29th September 2014. 

Frank Pot commented: “These are important steps for Portugal and we’re optimistic that, with the help of our partners, EUWIN has started to build a sustainable momentum for workplace innovation.