Start at Best event on Workplace Innovation and Digital Learning

Start at Best project’s final event happened last week in Brussels

Start at Best, an H2020 project based on workplace innovation for business competitiveness, held its final event on November 23.

The project carried out over the last 30 months comes to an end with a hybrid format event where several speakers shared their experience and knowledge regarding innovation in the workplace.

The event was a hybrid event divided into two sessions, the morning session on-site at the Press Club Europe Brussels and online and an afternoon session.

The first speaker Eric Koch, Project adviser at EISMEA and Project Officer of Start at Best project, wanted to emphasize the importance of workplace innovation element in today’s setting since it enhances productivity and well-being, however, and according to Eric is often underestimated. He also added that we are going through a transformation process where innovation must be non-stop and considered as part of the work itself.

Stavroula Demetriades, Senior Research Manager at Eurofound, wanted to raise the importance that the whole team needs to be involved in workplace innovation activities and that there are no individual solutions for it, and that managers need to search for motivation to introduce innovation in the workplace. As an example, she mentioned several practices associated with innovation such as work organization methodologies and encouraging the design of jobs that are interesting and challenging. Other efficient management practices include providing motivation, training, and interesting jobs, and finally, employee participation and interaction in management decision making.

Benedikt Blomeyer, Director of EU Policy at Allied for Startups, provided examples of how startups operating remotely have become successful.
“The workplace of the future is changing, will become much more flexible, more specifically, we’ve seen the work move from office to online, technology will be used to personalize the workplace of the future”.

Ondrej Socuvka, Senior Policy Manager at Google EU, continued to discuss the digital skills and workplace culture topics and insisted that in order to adapt to change, people have to continue learning new skills and being individually responsible for their evolution as a professional. Ondrej left as an example several tools including Grow with Google online training, new Career Certificates program, workplace innovation lessons learned published at Re:Work, and the latest blog from Matt Brittin on their commitment to further support SME’s across Europe. He closed his session highlighting that a team needs to grow together and not only individually.

Finally, João Mendes Borga, Executive Board Member at ANI – National Innovation Agency, talked about ‘Brains: The oil of the future and the stress-driven challenges from the entrepreneurial ecosystem’. He provided Portuguese examples of new Unicorns, as Farfetch and Outsystems, and how they have grown incredibly in the past 5 years. These are companies that don’t have factories, but brains. That doesn’t need a physical place, but computers connected to the internet.
From 2016 we started to see that more and more jobs in Europe are being created by startups and highlighted the concern of reaching a point where no one is being entrepreneur enough to start new ones. João ended his talk by encouraging people to be more entrepreneurs and take the risk to create new start-ups.

During the afternoon session, the Start at Best projects’ participants were invited to share their experience and projects’ activities during a zoom session.

This is how the Start at Best project was concluded on November 23rd. We had around 30 participants on-site and around 60 online. Even though the project has come to an end, speakers made it clear to us that innovation must become a permanent feature not only in startups but also in companies in general. For this, we must continue to promote the replication of successful initiatives across other industries and European countries.

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