Innovation & Engagement – What do the Experts say? 

Innovation & Engagement – What do the Experts say?

On 25th September 2013, the E4S Guru Group met to discuss the theme of innovation and engagement. Weber Shandwick showcased their recent engagement findings and Louise Beardmore of United Utilities presented on how focussing on Innovation makes business sense.

Louise Beardmore’s presentation emphasised the learnings from the research the Innovation subgroup conducted with London Business School, have a read of their findings here.


In a series of breakout groups, teams discussed some jointly proposed questions on the theme, with the goal of generating some useful output for engagement practitioners.

The event was a free platform for experts to discuss their views on the topic and we are happy to share the outcomes below.

Leading consultants from across the industry (also known as Engage for Success Guru’s!) discussed and answered the following questions:

Does Innovation drive Engagement? Should we focus on Innovation driving engagement or engagement driving innovation?

This question is asking should we rely on engaged employees to innovate ( we know engaged employees are better innovators). Alternatively  should we first consider creating the culture or environment for innovation to enable more effective innovation and more engaged employees. Current thinking suggests the latter approach is more productive. Find out what answers the guru’s gave on the output slides here.

How can we encourage Innovation, and give everyone the opportunity to contribute, in an environment of ‘doing more with less’?

The guru’s discussed how the word ‘innovation’ itself can be daunting as some employees may think they should ‘dream up’ a new product or complicated technology. The risk of failure and employees barely knowing company values were discussed as barriers.

In regards to how to overcome these barriers and encourage innovation, the experts discussed how everyone can contribute and those who do speak up should be recognised. ROI and raising the company profile are other factors that can encourage innovation with employees, read the full output here.

What, role (if any) does training and development have in improving innovation in the workplace?

Training and development does have a role to play but it is not the only answer to improving innovation.  There are principles of innovation that we can learn and train in which will help improve innovation techniques, but fundamental to success is an inherent desire to innovate and a culture that actively supports innovation.  Without such a culture, investment in training and development is wasted. Find out what else the Guru’s have to say here.

How do we get the senior leaders of an organisation to engage with the topic of innovation so that they make it a top priority?

Guru’s agreed that a business case demonstrating the return on investment, forecasting scenarios of instances of a burning platform without innovation and a clear concise definition are a few of the many suggestions which can be found here.

What problems are we trying to solve by researching for a link between engagement and innovation?

The experts discussed individuals and companies taking ownership as well as the notion of being given permission to be innovative, read the full outcomes here.

If you have any suggestions on the above content or would like to add to the links between Engagement & Innovation please email content@engageforsuccess.org

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