uk institute for workplace innovation

Research-based solutions to workplace problems since 2007.


The University of Kentucky Institute for Workplace Innovation (iwin) is a research institute that prides itself on translating research for Kentucky employers, so iwin is always staying abreast of the latest research on workplace issues. Well, research builds upon itself: It gets more expansive and more complete over time.  With the knowledge base constantly growing and evolving, our research framework must grow and evolve, too.

In light of iwin’s overarching mission to improve organizations in Kentucky and the work lives of their employees, iwin’s Innovative Workplace Model is expanding to include a ninth dimension, strategic workplace design.  Decades of research suggests that the physical work environment is a very significant part of an innovative workplace, and we at iwin are pleased that it will now be included in our Innovative Workplace Model.  

iwin’s original Innovative Workplace Model, developed by iwin’s founding executive director, Dr. Jennifer Swanberg, is a comprehensive model featuring eight dimensions of an innovative workplace:  effective leadership and supervision, opportunities for learning and advancement, promotion of workplace flexibility, culture of inclusion, meaningful work, cultivation of teams and social supports, competitive compensation and benefits, and promotion of health and wellness.  And with the inclusion of strategic workplace design, these nine dimensions are known to lead to greater levels of employee engagement, health, productivity, and work-life fit. 

It’s been said that “dull environments produce dull ideas.”  In fact, decades of rigorous academic research leave no doubt that the physical environment in which employees work, learn, focus, collaborate, and socialize impact employees and thus the achievement of the organization’s mission.  Environmental issues such as design, lighting, temperature, sound, privacy, and seating arrangement can have a profound impact on employee productivity, efficiency, collaboration, creativity and innovation.  They can also boost employee morale and make it easier for organizations to recruit and retain top talent, all of which are good for employees and for an organizations’ bottom line!