Creating a Positive Workplace Culture: Clare Alexander, Hd of Workplace Innovation, Scottish Enterprise

Clare Alexander, Head of Workplace Innovation at Scottish Enterprise discusses some of her key take-aways from Venturefest 2016 and how to get the most from your people, processes and relationships. 

In September 2016 Scottish Enterprise launched its Workplace Innovation Service and last year’s Venturefest Scotland presented us with an opportunity to run a session for attendees (in partnership with our colleagues at Innovating Works – Scottish Centre for Employment Research) on practical tips ‘to create and embed a culture of employee-driven innovation’.

Our team were able to share insight and consider the key role individuals have within the workplace. Attendees included business owners, entrepreneurs, investors and innovators all considering how by investing in ‘people-centred change’ they could take their businesses to the next level.

There is increasing evidence that innovating works for businesses, for employees and for society. Yet many companies don’t think of innovation as something that is really relevant to them. By thinking about new ways to get the best out of your people, processes and relationships, organisations can create value and improve performance while also delivering fair work for their employees. Getting that message out and supporting businesses to innovate is crucially important.

Given the current business environment, the way workplaces are organised and how employees are engaged is more important than ever before. We know that there is a growing body of evidence that shows that innovative workplaces are more productive and competitive; in short they are more successful. Venturefest enables like minded individuals to come together to network, share learnings around this important area, and stimulate new ways of thinking.

Indeed, Scottish Enterprise’s Workplace Innovation Service importantly supports companies find new ways of engaging the creativity and skills of their people. Venturefest provides a great opportunity for debate and discussion and key learnings from our session included;

  • It doesn’t matter where you start – just start – the key thing to remember is the importance of workplace organisation, roles and responsibilities, workplace partnership – and how this interconnects
  • You don’t have to start with a large scale change project – it can be incremental
  • It’s ok to fail – if it does not work first time, try again – change can take time

Indeed, for any team to achieve success it must rely on every individual in the team, top to bottom, contributing all their talents and efforts. Sometimes organisations only manage to scratch the surface and miss opportunities to harness the huge potential of their people. To successfully unlock the potential of a workforce,  businesses need to achieve the engagement and motivation of their people.

Scottish Enterprise recognises that there are key areas where workplace innovation can make a real difference: your people, your business practices and your workplace.

Through a programme of structured masterclasses, workshops and learning events we can help businesses to create a culture where staff are fully engaged and supported to reach their potential, energise and inspire businesses to listen to the ideas of their employees.

Our Workplace Innovation Fund can contribute up to £5,000 towards activities that will allow businesses to introduce new and innovative workplace practices.  Our Workplace Innovation Master classes cover a wide variety of themes that will help businesses improve their productivity and engage their workforce to reach their full potential.  Our newly launched Workplace Innovation Workshops equip individuals with tried and tested tools and techniques to develop and implement an action plan to make the most of their people, workplace and practices.

Venturefest Scotland provides a positive environment for businesses to meet a range of experts on a one-to-one basis, and to build and strengthen networks via the cross-fertilisation of ideas and peer-to-peer learning. Representatives from Scottish Enterprise’s Workplace Innovation team will be in attendance at Venturefest 2017 so please come along and speak to us.  I have no hesitation in encouraging ambitious businesses to attend this event to really ignite their innovation ideas.

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