Early-Career Engineers' Perceptions Of Support For Innovation At The Workplace - What Seems To Matter

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Patrick Simon (1), Tua A. Björklund (2) and Sheri Sheppard (3)
Series: ICED
Institution: Aalto University
Section: Human behaviour in design and design cognition
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.1017/dsi.2019.181
ISSN: 2220-4342


Previous research has shown the importance of contextual factors for increasing employee innovativeness, but to effectively support innovative behavior, we need to also understand what forms of support are perceived as meaningful by the employees themselves. The current study investigated the experiences of 35 early-career engineers in creating, championing and implementing new ideas at the workplace. They reported relatively few instances of support that had been experienced as helpful, and nearly all of these were related to either managerial or co-worker support. This support ranged from encouragement and positive feedback to tangible help in troubleshooting and finding resources, and, in the case of managers, providing sufficient autonomy and responsibility to enable the interviewees to pursue their ideas. Managerial support was most frequently reported by those working in self-described innovative positions, whereas co-worker support was more commonly reported by those working in self-described innovative environments. Formal processes and incentives were less likely to have been perceived as helpful than informal interactions with managers and co-workers.

Keywords: Innovation, Support, Project management, Colleagues, Training


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