Organisational Development and Work Design

Bringing people, technology and organization into harmony

Our goal is to stimulate innovation, adaptability, performance and well-being in order to make organizations and their employees successful over the long term. At Fraunhofer IAO, we help businesses and public bodies design their work organization and practices in flexible, agile ways. To this end, our permanently up-to-date technological expertise is combined with the latest findings from the organizational and social sciences. Complemented by our broad consulting know-how, we ensure successful change management.

An organization’s success depends substantially on the innovation capability of its members and of the organization as a whole. The coexistence of successful innovations and efficient implementation requires flexible and agile structures, transformative management concepts, work environments that foster productivity, and a corporate culture that motivates and inspires.

In organization development projects, we design a company’s business processes, management and control systems, and business models from a holistic perspective. We help companies and public-sector organizations optimize their structures and processes, and achieve sustainable long-term productivity.

We also design work systems for the respective organizations, helping them plan and implement people-friendly working environments that foster high performance. The shared goal of our implementation projects is to make organizations more responsive, innovative and productive; to create the conditions under which employees are motivated and achieve excellence; and to create sustainable employment.  

Our key research topics:

  • Flexible and self-organized forms of work
  • Ambidextrous organizational models
  • Virtual cooperation and user-oriented IT design
  • Management concepts and systems in the era of digital transformation
  • Innovative environments for office and knowledge work
  • Cognitive working and living environments

Projects Selection

Future Meeting Space

The “Future Meeting Space” innovation network was created to anticipate trends in the events industry, evaluate their possible impact, and recommend courses of action. 

Future Museum

oday’s museum visitors are looking for a memorable experience. Museums form part of an ecosystem that is evolving dynamically on the back of digital transformation and societal trends. Technological developments are giving museums new tools to entertain and reach out to their visitors, allowing them to present information in more interactive, intuitive and exciting ways.  

Permutations of flexible living and working (LAIF)

People’s working lives have been growing more flexible for many years, to the extent that the restriction of fixed hours and a fixed place of work is becoming a thing of the past. How and to what degree does this trend affect workers’ private lives and the much-vaunted “work-life balance?”  

HR departments and works councils – accelerating the Industrie 4.0 transformation

Developing guidelines and a workshop concept to make the digital transformation a collaborative effort in each company 

Organizing an Industrie 4.0 company

Survey and communication of good-practice cases on the leadership and organization of small and medium-sized enterprises in Baden-Württemberg 

The Organisational Development and Work Design Research Unit is organized in the following teams:


Collaboration and Leadership

The team successfully designs the transformation through versatile working methods that offer flexibility in terms of time and place – with new methods, digital cooperation tools and modified management concepts. 


Organisational Design

In light of the changes brought about by learning systems, the team interlinks corporate strategy with digital strategy in order to derive organizational models that are fit and ready for the future.


Workspace Innovation

The team develops and evaluates working conditions for office and knowledge work with the aim of promoting innovation and performance, without losing sight of the individual.


Cognitive Environments

The team designs smart environments for office work, for those who travel, and for looking after people in need of care – from individual workplaces to whole neighborhoods.