In an era of significant disruption and change, employers continue to work hard to foster a culture of innovation in the workforce.
The shift to hybrid working over the last three years, initially driven by the immediate need to weather out the pandemic, has prompted organisations to embrace innovation as a means of boosting competitiveness and building resilience to future unforeseen events. Rapid innovations by technology companies are driving up the rate adoption by employers of emerging technologies. The emerging opportunities of the metaverse and holographic interaction continue to garner significant attention as ways of ameliorating some of the challenges arising from remote and hybrid working impacting on collaboration, feelings of belonging, and organisational culture. This Future of Work Hub podcast explores how developing technologies can be used to build trust and a sense of belonging to make hybrid and remote working more “human”.
As well as technological innovation, innovation in the workplaces encompasses any new ways of doing things differently. Building a culture of innovation is becoming an increasingly strategic issue for organisations to create value and differentiation in the market. Accenture has identified the following five barriers to an innovation culture: a lack of innovation mindset; a lack of infrastructure to support innovation; poor alignment on organisational values; a lack of innovation vision; and poor innovation execution.
The UK performs relatively poorly as far as investment in research and development is concerned. Investment in this area stands at 1.7% of GDP and has increased only very marginally over the last two decades from 1.6% in 2000. The UK is fifth among G7 nations after Japan, Germany, US and France and ahead of Canada and Italy. The government has set a target of increasing expenditure to 2.4% by 2027 and announced increased public expenditure in research and development in its 2022 Autumn Statement. Israel and Korea have become innovation hubs with a far greater proportion of GDP (4.9% and 4.6% respectively) spent on research and development.
As in 2020 and 2021, the UK came fourth in the Global Innovation Index 2022, behind Switzerland, the US and Sweden. UK innovation will be enhanced if it can negotiate access to the EU Horizon Europe programme. This represents a further significant potential benefit from a rapprochement with the EU.
In the UK, the sector benefitting most from investment is the pharmaceuticals sector, with the motor industry coming second. Innovation in the pharmaceutical industry and in healthcare will contribute to people living longer, healthy lives in many countries and contribute to the evolving demographic of work.
The drive for a more sustainable world less dependent on fossil fuels will change the nature of many jobs and result in new jobs being created and old ones disappearing. No doubt, innovations totally unforeseeable to many today will have a growing impact on the world of work in the years ahead.