Can I have some more, Sir?

By |2023-03-29T06:54:41+00:00April 1st, 2023|

We all need more food.  The world population continues to grow.  At the same time, however, we devote less land to agriculture as we create mega cities and urban sprawl. The only solution is  increased agricultural productivity. However, an annual report from Virginia Tech University in the US shows agriculture is behind the pace of meeting the

Let Them Laugh

By |2023-03-22T10:16:45+00:00March 25th, 2023|

I remember once walking past an office and the staff in there were obviously enjoying themselves.  They were laughing - at what, I know not.  My first thought was ‘How odd. Shouldn’t they be taking their work more seriously?  We pay them to work, not to play. “ But, of course, first thoughts are quite often wrong thoughts.  This


By |2023-03-08T07:54:18+00:00March 11th, 2023|

A very simple way of thinking about productivity is to identify the things that block or slow down throughput and eliminate them.  I know this is an oversimplification because in some case, removing a bottleneck just creates another one further down the process …. but you will almost certainly have made some impact by removing

Working Hard is Not Enough

By |2023-03-01T09:40:25+00:00March 4th, 2023|

I get concerned when I see famous people in all sort of fields (‘celebrities’?) give advice to youngsters  saying something like “You can be anything you want to be, do anything you want to do. You just need a goal and to work very hard.” Now positivism is good - and encouraging youngsters to work hard

Learn from other Disciplines

By |2023-02-15T12:13:42+00:00February 18th, 2023|

Someone once told me if you want innovation in engineering, don’t ask an engineer.  They’ll give you accepted (and workable) engineering solutions but they won’t give you groundbreaking, innovative or creative solutions. What you need is to ask a non-engineer to give you ideas for new ways of addressing your problem - and then ask an

We need real, not artificial, intelligence

By |2023-02-08T15:48:22+00:00February 11th, 2023|

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is touted as ‘the next big thing’ in productivity improvement - and there is little doubt that we will see lots of examples of AI taking over relatively menial, snd some more sophisticated, tasks over the next couple of decades. However, many of us have already seen quite a few examples of

Are Some People More Productive Than Others?

By |2023-02-01T07:46:44+00:00February 4th, 2023|

Most people assume that some people are more productive than others - and for some jobs, that is clearly true.  But for many people, their productivity is determined by ‘the system’, the technology and the productivity or performance of the people around them - at the previous workstation, for example. So, should we worry about individual

What’s The Purpose?

By |2023-01-25T07:49:04+00:00January 28th, 2023|

Many firms put in systems to improve productivity, by monitoring what is going on and how hard people are working.  They manage - or micro-manage - the time of their employees and how it is filled. But they’ve forgotten something. Employees don’t work well when they are micro-managed.   They work well when they know their role in

Trteat gyouyr employees like dogs

By |2023-01-18T07:50:56+00:00January 21st, 2023|

Do you have a dog? If so, you know that, above all else, dogs value ... food, yes, but consistent behaviour from their owner.  That is how you train your dog - by applying consistent behaviour tied to small rewards and giving praise when they do something you perceive as good. You make it clear

The Technology Circle

By |2023-01-12T09:35:04+00:00January 14th, 2023|

Last week I suggested that technology might be useful in helping drive productivity forward. This week, I am changing my view after further reflection. Yes, over time firms have used technology to improve their business performance.  But there is some evidence to suggest the pattern is now somewhat changed.  It seems as though well-performing firms are using

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