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Guest lecture

The Knowledge Economy, Innovation and Creativity

Event series: 

David Coats

David Coats has been Associate Director of Policy at The Work Foundation since February 2004. He is responsible for The Work Foundation’s engagement with the public policy world, seeking to influence the national conversation about the world of work. He is recognised as an expert commentator on employment relations and quality of working life issues.

David was a member of the Low Pay Commission from 2000-2004 and was appointed to the Central Arbitration Committee in 2005. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Involvement and Participation Association, a number of academic advisory panels and the steering committee of Unions 21. He was commissioned by the PSA in 2007 to write the paper: Reviving the Public: fresh insights on the current debate about public sector management.


It is often said that developed countries are moving in the direction of a knowledge economy, with a shift not just from manufacturing to services but to knowledge intensive services. Is this an accurate reflection of reality, or is it simply a myth? What are the characteristics of a knowledge economy and how do we measure the extent of the transition? What changes, if any, are needed to the public policy framework to support and sustain an economy with a very different structure?

What are the drivers of innovation and where should the balance be struck between the quest for genuinely new technologies, products or processes and incremental improvements in existing product lines? What does this mean for organisations and their staff? Is “knowledge work” different and do “knowledge workers” therefore need to be managed differently? This lecture will draw upon The Work Foundation’s research to describe recent developments in the UK and explain how both government and organisations are responding to the changing economic environment.

Last updated: 
Friday, 18 July 2008