Trade Unions as Knowledgeable Participants in Workplace Innovation

Copenhagen: 29th – 30th April 2014

Conference Programme and Prospectus

Download programme and prospectus here or read on.

Booking now closed.


Workplace innovation describes working practices that enable people at all levels to use and develop their skills, knowledge and creativity to the fullest possible extent during day-to-day working life. 

It is found in workplaces with participative forms of work organisation where there are continuous opportunities for all employees to contribute their ideas for improvement and innovation. 

Workplace innovation leads to a high quality of working life as well as high performance. There is a considerable body of evidence to demonstrate that it achieves high performance through employee well-being, health and engagement. 

Yet survey results from across Europe show that only a minority of workplaces make full use of these practices, with negative consequences for workers’ health, well-being and quality of working life, as well as for employment growth.

The Workshop

This interactive event will address two questions: 

  • How does workplace innovation benefit workers?

  • How can trade unions play an active role as “knowledgeable participants” in workplace innovation through the provision of expertise and expert facilitation?

The workshop will examine good practice case studies of union intervention which leads to win-win outcomes for workers and enterprises. Such interventions may include:

  • education and awareness initiatives; 

  • collaborative mechanisms;

  • union participation in national or regional workplace innovation programmes;

  • union-led consultancy and facilitation in the workplace.

Participants will help to identify good practice guidelines for unions in Europe not involved in such initiatives, and to identify the potential for further collaboration.


LO Denmark and EUWIN invite representatives from trade unions, employers’ organisations and companies across Europe to take part in this event. We are particularly keen to hear from those with good practice case studies to share. Please contact Pia Mulvad Reksten ( or Peter Totterdill ( for more information.

The workshop will take place at LO House, Islands Brygge 32D, DK-2300 Copenhagen, a short distance from Copenhagen (Kastrup) airport. Meals will be provided but participants are responsible for making their own accommodation arrangements. The venue is easily accessible from the City Centre.

Booking now closed


Tuesday 29th April

12.45 Registration and Lunch (sandwiches)

13.30 Interactive welcome Pia Mulvad Reksten (LO, Danish Confederation of Trade Unions) 
Peter Dragsbæk (CO-Industri, The Central Organisation of Industrial Employees in Denmark) 
Peter Totterdill (EUWIN)

  Workplace innovation: what is it and why does it matter to trade unions?

Peter Totterdill (EUWIN)
  Workplace innovation in Europe: the state of play

Greet Vermeylen (Eurofound) 

  Is the quality of workplaces falling in Europe? On the need for a new deal.

 Bengt-Åke Lundvall (University of Aalborg)
  How can workplace innovation recreate manufacturing jobs in Denmark – and Europe? 

Jan Arlbjørn
(University of Southern Denmark)
  Employee-driven innovation: the benefits and pitfalls.

Steen Høyrup (University of Aarhus)
  Employment and social developments in Europe 2013

Eric Mayermans (European Commission)
  Getting the policy message across

Britta Thomsen MEP
  So if workplace innovation is so vidunderlig, why isn’t everyone in Europe doing it?

Interactive discussion and group work facilitated by Peter Totterdill (EUWIN) and Rosemary Exton (UK WON).
  Panel conclusions Pia Mulvad Reksten (LO Denmark)
Peter Dragsbæk (CO-Industri Denmark)
Greet Vermeylen (Eurofound) 

17.30 Close

19.00  Dinner


Wednesday 30th April


Workplace innovation and trade unions in Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Norway









Interactive conversation facilitated by 

Peter Totterdill with:

Pia Mulvad Reksten (LO Denmark) 

Peter Dragsbæk (CO-Industri Denmark)

Anthony Kallevig (LO Norway)

Michelle Quinn (SIPTU, Ireland)

Tuomo Alasoini (TEKES, Finland)

Dries Delissen-Jacobs (ACV, Belgium)

Saar Vandenbroucke (ABVV, Belgium)

  Reports from the workplace

  Workplace innovation at Becton Dickinson (Ireland) David Mullis (HR Manager, Becton Dickinson) and Gerald Bannon and Patrick Perry (SIPTU Shop Stewards at Becton Dickinson)

  Representative and direct participation at Lamborghini

Volker Telljohan (IRES-CGIL, Italy)
  Connect to Create at Novozymes

Line Sandberg (Vice President, Novozymes) and
Anders Hentze Knudsen (3F – The United Federation of Danish Workers Shop Steward at Novozymes)
  Workplace innovation and the involvement of employees and citizens in improving services in the elderly care sector Marianne Mahler (Copenhagen Municipality)
  The future
  How can we take this forward?

Group discussions and plenary
13:00  Close and lunch