IDEWE harnesses co-creation to innovate
Published on 27/06/2022 in Inspire
Creating safe, healthy workplaces through innovation – that’s what IDEWE aims to do for 822,000 employees at 35,000 businesses. For the External Service for Prevention, Protection, and Wellbeing at Work, co-creation is a big part of that picture.
Over the past few years, IDEWE noticed a trend. What they saw was that the business world was increasingly prioritizing people’s wellbeing. Bottlenecks and shortages in the job market, among other things, helped drive that change. “A growing number of businesses come to us with questions about mental health,” says Lode Godderis, CEO of IDEWE. “They want to know how to prevent burnout and how they should handle things if they end up in that situation anyway. Employers are looking for solutions that help people adopt healthy work habits and keep them on the job.”
Space to dis(connect)
It’s a given, but the COVID pandemic and the related hybrid work situation also had a knock-on effect, namely, reduced employee resilience to stress. Employers were faced with the challenge of tackling that, sustainably, and in an orderly fashion. Sofie Vandenbroeck, Manager of the Knowledge, Information, and Research Department, explains how IDEWE offers related support. “Not losing sight of the human factor is what really counts. As an employer, you’ve got to strike a balance between feeling connected and the ability to ‘disconnect’.”
Employers need to keep employees involved and connected, but they should also give them an opportunity to take a break from work when they need it – to relax.
Digitization brings people together
Experience over the past two years has proven that technology is a key enabler for ensuring that people stay connected. “We believe that the human factor should always come first,” said Godderis. “That’s where we really want to make a difference. We employ technology to facilitate a friendly, personal connection with our employees. It’s more of a tool than an end in itself.”
That tactic allows IDEWE to push back against the preconception that technology is all about cutting jobs and replacing people. IDEWE seeks to use automation and digitization to free up more time for simple human contact and offer customers custom advice.
We employ technology to facilitate a friendly, personal connection.
Lode Godderis, IDEWE CEO
The impact of digital transformation
Supporting its employees with technological innovations isn’t the only thing IDEWE does. A fair amount of the company’s customer base is also involved in digital transformation. “That’s why we also focus on how digital transformation affects employees,” says Sofie Vandenbroeck. For example, one of the projects running now assesses how warehouse integration of drones affects employee wellbeing. “That’s just another way that we keep the balance between digital and human in check.”
We prioritize assessing the effect of digital transformation on employees.
Sofie Vandenbroeck, Manager of the Knowledge, Information, and Research Department at IDEWE
Human design thinking
IDEWE employs human design thinking to come up with and create customer-centric solutions. That means that everything derives from the customer’s specific needs and context. And IDEWE involves as many stakeholders as possible in the creative process. “They all play a distinct role in developing and implementing a custom solution,” emphasized Godderis.
A concrete example of this is the e-health platform developed by IDEWE for companies that, among other things, relies on AI. “It brings people and tech together. We make online appointments available and provide employees with insight into the results,” Godderis explained. At the same time, however, data use also entails new challenges, e.g., data security.
IDEWE will continue to invest in R&D in the future, and the significant expansion of its Research and Information Department is part of that. “That approach is integral to who we are. It’s how we differentiate ourselves on the market,” said Godderis. The aim is to keep innovating and developing new best practices in prevention.
To make that a reality, IDEWE favors the co-creation model. “Our partners play a key role in our story; that includes universities and their spinoffs – and technology partners like Proximus.” IDEWE has resolutely decided to go the co-creation-driven innovation route. In doing so, it distinguishes itself as a one-of-a-kind player in the ecosystem that’s shaping the sector’s digitization.
Lode Godderis is IDEWE’s CEO and a Professor of Occupational Medicine at KU Leuven.
Sofie Vandenbroeck is IDEWE’s Manager of the Knowledge, Information, and Research Department.
IDEWE supports over 35,000 employers and 822,000 employees by setting up safe, healthy work environments. Based out of 11 regional offices and powered by over 900 employees – they get the job done.
Hybrid work: find the right balance at your business.