The CIPD embarked on a research programme with the University of Bath to look beneath the surface of innovation and understand the role that HR and L&D professionals play.

In this research series we explain how HR helps to support the human, social and organisational capital that fuels innovation and transformation and how the various dimensions of innovation manifest themselves in organisations. We explore how innovation happens in networked organisations and how local government and to some extent the public sector have taken on the innovation challenge. We also look at how creative firms have developed the tension between customer needs and the innovation imperative. We reflect on the critical role of employee involvement and trust in building the foundations for innovation, and briefly outline some contextual issues around the role of government. Finally, we have developed five innovation profiles describing different approaches to innovation that organisations adopt.

Part 1: Innovative forms of organising: networked working

Provides insight into how some key organisations, operating in different sectors and facing an array of challenges and opportunities, have managed to innovate and improve. In particular the report refers to a detailed best practice case of ‘One Team’ established by Marks and Spencer and their logistics providers.

Download the report below

Part 2: Driving innovation in local government

Examines the barriers to innovation in service delivery in the public sector and how to overcome them. Drawing on three specific case studies from local government it explores the processes involved in unlocking the potential of social capital and the contribution of HR in supporting the creation of an innovative culture. 

The case study organisations featured are Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Sunderland City Council and the London Borough of Sutton.

Download the report below

Part 3: Innovative outputs - a balancing act

Looks at the core of innovation - the production of creative outputs. In particular, the types of innovative outputs, the human and social resources that firms draw on and the way firms work with external parties to produce these outputs, and the HR practices needed to support them.

In order to do this we draw on our research at iris, an independent creative agency, and Alexander Mann Solutions, who build talent and resourcing capability for clients.

Download the report below

Part 4: The innovation imperative - the challenge for HR

​Builds on the findings of the previous three streams and outlines five innovation profiles which characterise the main approaches to innovation that organisations adopt. These profiles are illustrated with vignettes from the six case study organisations that have informed our research programme.

Download the report below

More on this topic

HR's next top operating model

Is the traditional HR operating model still fit-for-purpose or do we need to consider a new model?

Bitesize research
How to start using AI as an HRM assistant

An exploration of how generative AI tools like ChatGPT can be used effectively to support human resource management

For Members

More reports

Apprenticeships and the case for a flexible skills levy

Analysis of the current Apprenticeship Levy and policy recommendations for how it can be adapted to provide a better apprenticeships system and workforce training support

Labour Market Outlook

Read our latest Labour Market Outlook report for analysis on employers’ recruitment, redundancy and pay intentions

Pay, performance and transparency 2024

Insight from the CIPD’s survey into factors driving pay decisions in UK workplaces and recommendations for practice

Neuroinclusion at work report 2024

Find out about the importance of neuroinclusive workplaces, what employers are doing and the working experiences of neurodivergent and neurotypical employees

See all reports