Becton Dickinson has produced medical devices in Drogheda for fifty years, but during the first decade of this century the plant seemed to be falling off the parent company’s radar. Becton Dickinson offers persuasive evidence that workplace partnership means more than good industrial relations. Unions can play a key role in engaging workers at all levels in innovation and improvement, creating win-win outcomes for employees and their employers.
Established for over 80 years, Polpharma is the largest manufacturer of pharmaceuticals in Poland servicing the Central and Eastern European, Caucasus and Central Asian markets. It is among the top 20 generic drug manufacturers in the world, employing over 7,500 people across 7 manufacturing plants in Poland, Russia and Kazakhstan as well as 7 research and development centres. Polpharma Group’s portfolio includes about 600 products, and another 200 are under development. Polpharma recognises that enabling improvement and innovation requires freedom to act combined with the ability to design the workplace and work environment in ways that employees want.
Arginta, based in Vilnius, Lithuania is a manufacturer of non-standard equipment, component parts and part-finished products. Gintaras Kvietkauskas, Director of the Arginta Group believes strongly that quality and improvement should be owned by everyone in the company rather than being policed by management. The company has created a series of empowering practices to support an enabling culture. Quality issues are resolved directly on the production floor, frontline employees are actively empowered to make suggestions for improvement and innovation, and the focus is on shared learning rather than blame when things go wrong.
“The important thing is that you have an environment where people are doing their job at any level have a process they can flash about ideas without fear of criticism, without immediately knocking them on the head and just doing the what ifs." The Devon & Cornwall Police inaugurated a cross rank discussion group in Cornwall to explore new ways of working, communication and collaborating, but can a highly regulated organisation such as a regional police force promote and develop employee driven innovation?
The Met Office is the UK’s national weather service and a trading arm of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Inspired by external influence, a small core of innovators began a process of ‘guerrilla’ tactics exploiting the organisation’s grown up attitude towards managerial responsibility and decision-making to drive the process forward, firstly by visiting other businesses including Google and Innocent and learning from the experiences they found there. The Met Office experience produced some interesting observations for others to consider in the process of introducing workplace innovation.
Novozymes is a biotech-based company, headquartered in Denmark and employing approximately 6,000 people in 30 countries. Its products - industrial enzymes, microorganisms, biopolymers and other proteins - allow industry to achieve more efficient use of raw materials, reduce energy consumption, replace traditional chemicals with more sustainable alternatives, and offer higher-quality products to customers.
"If we are not failing we are not trying hard enough". Red Gate is a software company providing “ingeniously simple” tools for technology professionals worldwide. Although it is growing, Red Gate tries to maintain its original start-up, informal culture by using a variety of tools and initiatives to encourage employee-led innovation and strengthen its engaged culture.
The company has promoted creativity and communications by breaking down functional boundaries and by designing work spaces that create an alternative office culture and encourage people to work together, sharing ideas and collaborating on different projects. Read more about how designing work spaces that create an alternative office culture and encourage people to work together, sharing ideas and collaborating on different projects can improve your organisation.