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Workplace innovation as regional economic development: Towards a movement?

Action Research in Workplace Innovation and Regional Development (Fricke and Totterdill, 2004) advocated creating “many low-intensity cases generated by a great variety of actors … (integrating) the ideas and interests of as many regional stakeholders as possible”, thereby unleashing the potential to introduce industrial democracy and worker participation into regional development processes. This article explores a specific attempt to stimulate workplace innovation in the UK, a country with no tradition of such policy initiatives, through a coalition of regional actors. The resulting programme was successful in its own terms, achieving tangible outcomes and shared learning, but failed to create a sustainable momentum in its own region. The learning and experience from the programme was subsequently absorbed by policy makers elsewhere in the UK.