Forum B

Innovation and change: organising work to meet the challenges of a knowledge economy

With the ongoing shift in concentration of labour-intensive industries to the globe’s more populous countries, most agree that the way to maintain prosperity in more developed nations is through the 'knowledge economy'. This Forum discusses how a health-promoting culture within a company can stimulate and foster innovation and help employers and workers manage the necessary changes together.

The way we live and work is rapidly changing. The reasons for this are well-known:

  • increasing international economic integration (globalisation)
  • development of new technologies – especially information and communication
  • demographic change and persistent, relatively high unemployment rates in many developed countries 
  • segmentation of labour markets and the resulting unequal opportunities and growing social inequality between those with and those without jobs.

Although globalisation, in principle, opens up positive opportunities for growth and employment, it also creates pressure by demanding constant change and adaptation among companies and workforces. It requires more flexible and less segmented labour markets, with better-quality employment possibilities for those with the right skills and attributes. In this new world, employment security becomes more valuable than job security. Lifelong learning and support are part of a strategy to help improve the quality of labour markets, reduce the 'precariousness' of working and living situations and thus enable countries to afford to maintain good quality social security systems. 

Experience shows that a company's ability to innovate can be improved through a combination of measures to promote the quality of work, including the development of a participation-oriented corporate culture and a modern company health policy. In an increasingly knowledge-based economy, especially in the production and service sectors, there is, effectively, a corresponding obligation on individuals to take more responsibility for their learning and well-being, inside and outside the workplace.

Issues to be explored include:

  • The role of workplace health on the innovative ability of companies
  • HR concepts that help the changeover to a 'knowledge' society
  • How do companies and society co-operate to master globalisation?



Speakers - Case Stories


Input presenter:

Case story presentations:

  •  ArcelorMittal, Luxembourg:
    Daniel Atlan
    General Manager Human Resources Mining
  • Bertelsmann Stiftung (Foundation), Germany:
    Andre Schleiter
    Project Manager, Program Future of Employment (Programm Zukunft der Beschäftigung)
  • Scania CV AB, Sweden:
    Dr. Carina Albiin Svensk
    Global Medical Officer, Personnel Support
    Gunnar Hedlund
    Head of Method Development Occupational Health, Personnel Support

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