Snake Oil

By |November 3rd, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

If you read lots of press releases ... as I do (yes, I know I should 'get a life'), you soon realise that just about everything is claimed to improve productivity. Most often such 'stories' relate to what is termed 'personal productivity'

What did you achieve?

By |October 27th, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

Too often, managers assess worker performance - especially in knowledge jobs - on how long they work ... not on what they achieve. Of course workers react to such measurement schemes and will extend their hours ... taking longer than necessary to complete

Think things through

By |October 20th, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

I went to a presentation recently on Israel's approach to innovation ... and to Research & Development in particular. What struck me was the 'joining of the dots' ... the fact that Israel seems to

Should we move back to manufacturing?

By |October 13th, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

Most countries go through a development cycle from Agriculture to Manufacturing and then on to Services. However many services are labour intensive ... and therefore dramatic productivity gains are difficult Productivity in manufacturing industry can be transformed using technology and automation. Does,this mean that those countries that have moved

Productivity Conundrum

By |October 6th, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

The Guardian (UK newspaper) this week raised the question of how the UK has managed to create jobs whilst GDP is falling. It suggests that the answer must be that the productivity of the workforce

Its a Learning Problem

By |September 29th, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

Behind many productivity problems is a learning problem. It is astonishing how often employees are poorly trained ... and in many cases, completely untrained, to do the job they are supposed to do. We then

Small is beautiful

By |September 22nd, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

In 2007, the state of Iowa in the USA hired Mike Rohlf, a black belt in Six Sigma, to apply 'Lean' to the various processes and procedures of state government. Mike is still there ...

Spend wisely

By |September 15th, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

A recent report from IDC Manufacturing Insights suggests that the IT spend in Indian manufacturing organisations will double by 2016. Will this give them a rise in productivity? Almost certainly.  Not necessarily as a direct

They’re not to blame

By |September 8th, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

I'm writing this in Pakistan ... whilst taking a look at some aspects of Pakistan's horticultural sector. If you take a look at 'the figures' they suggest that this sector is quite 'inefficient', yet when

… and Jerk

By |September 8th, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

Did you see what I did there.  Possibly too clever for my own good but I carried on the title of this post from the title of my last one. How often have you felt


By |September 1st, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

Anyone who has practiced 5S will know the value of tidiness and cleanliness. Yet, all too often we see dirty, untidy workplaces ... creating inefficiency. Wherever you see untidiness, think "This is costing me money"

Where are you?

By |August 18th, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

Imagine for a moment that you are in charge of the country. Your country needs you to increase its competitiveness… you know the best way to do this is to improve its productivity. Of course,

Less is sometimes more

By |August 11th, 2012|Categories: Productivity|

Sometimes we want output to go down .. sometimes we even want people doing as little work as possible. Think of maintenance engineers ... we want them efficiently and effectively involved in preventative maintenance. We

More food, please

By |July 31st, 2012|Categories: Productivity, Sustainability|

Food inflation combined with inadequate gains in productivity are clear indicators that our ability to feed a rapidly growing population is at serious risk without swift action. Example 1 Eggs are one of the most

Unintended consequences

By |July 31st, 2012|Categories: Sustainability|

Governments (bless them!) often do things with good intentions.. but often fail to think through the unintended consequences of their actions. Take energy subsidies as an example. Quite a few governments subsidise energy prices ...

8,000 years

By |July 31st, 2012|Categories: Productivity, Sustainability|

I've talked in the past about the need to improve agricultural productivity to keep the world fed. This was brought home to me this week when I read an astonishing fact.  (Assuming, of course, that

Convergent Thinking

By |July 31st, 2012|Categories: Productivity, Sustainability|

At the recent Rio summit (the less than spectacular one) there was some discussion about whether GDP is the best measure of a nation's well-being ... in an age where we are increasingly looking at

Standing in the shoes of others

By |July 31st, 2012|Categories: Ethics|

Business seems to have lost its ethical context. Business decisions are taken according to whether they are within or outside of legal and regulatory frameworks ... not whether they are within or outside of prevailing

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