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Work and organisations in 2020: The future we want?

The arguments in this report have arisen from a unique process of dialogue involving representatives of major employers’ and trade union organisations, public agencies, professional organisations and universities, as well as researchers and activists from diverse backgrounds. This paper makes the case for workplace innovation and participative working and the opportunities and limitless possibilities for creative and rewarding entrepreneurship that these afford. It argues that workplace innovation has a major impact on both the performance of the enterprise and on national economic competitiveness. It boosts productivity, quality and innovation, by making better use of workforce talent and has a profound effect on employees’ learning and development, health, well-being, ageing and wider roles as citizens. Set against a backdrop of changing economic priorities and demographic changes, where organisational hierarchies and jobs for life are being replaced by a knowledge based network economy bristling with innovative communication technologies, this report argues that the workplace constitutes a vital but neglected asset in facing the challenges of a volatile world economy and that there are missed opportunities amongst politicians and policymakers in maximising the role that workplaces and organisations can play. The potential of the workplace, the focal point at which wealth creation and social wellbeing come together, is being ignored. There is clear agreement amongst those responsible for this report about the need to challenge such a major gap in the current policy environment, especially at a time when growth and employment rank so highly in the list of national priorities.