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The Challenges and the Significance of the Involvement of Employees and Users in Corporate Sustainability Innovations

|© Henning Sittel

The Challenges and the Significance of the Involvement of Employees and Users in Corporate Sustainability Innovations

Siegen, Germany

On 26 June 2019, the NaWiKo workshop "Sustainable management in companies through employee integration in corporate sustainability innovations" took place in the facilities of the KUKA Gmbh in Siegen. The aim of the workshop was to discuss findings from research projects dealing with the relevance of the involvement of employees and users in corporate sustainability innovations with company representatives from the manufacturing industry.

The goal of the exchange was to discuss the role and the challenges regarding Open Innovation (meaning the involvement of employees and users) for corporate sustainability innovations in terms of whether and under what conditions research findings can be relevant for and applicable to everyday business life.

A short documentation of the main discussion is available as a download here.


The "human factor" remains the most valuable resource. Especially in today’s world, which is characterized by a shortage of skilled workers and demographic change, companies are required to put more effort into taking care of their employees. The capacity for innovation and thus competitiveness is always dependent on the staff’s willingness to perform. The development of sustainability innovations through the integration of employees is very important for the economy. As such, sustainability innovations that include the integration of employees right from the start are particularly valuable. Until now, the existing "knowledge potential" has unfortunately all too often been ignored or used to a limited extent.

The workshop was aimed at company representatives, inviting them to discuss possibilities and challenges of the future application of methods and instruments for the integration of employees and users across industries.

The workshop was conducted by the Effizienz-Agentur NRW (Efficiency Agency NRW) in cooperation with NaWiKo and financed by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research), abbreviated BMBF, within the framework of the funding measure NaWi, "Nachhaltiges Wirtschaften" ("Sustainable Management").


More content from this project

German Aerospace Center, DLR Bonn (DLR), Germany
Dr. Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers
Susanne Müller
Siegen, Germany
Project ID
transformation, business models, transdisciplinarity, green economy