A slap in the face

By |2020-03-19T22:48:05+00:00November 24th, 2012|

Maneesh Sethi wrote on his blog that he hired a "slapper" to smack him in the face whenever he logged onto Facebook while working and boasted that it increased his productivity. Of course, Sethi must have diagnosed the fact that accessing Facebook was causing him to lose productivity. His solution was drastic ... but imaginative.

A formula for innovation

By |2020-03-19T22:48:05+00:00November 17th, 2012|

Thomas Friedman suggests that “big breakthroughs happen when what is suddenly possible meets what is desperately necessary.” So, leaders of successful companies are those that recognise both sides of that formula - they know what is needed, and they identify when solutions become possible ... and they identify this before their competitors.

Snake Oil

By |2020-03-19T22:48:23+00:00November 3rd, 2012|

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' ... the kind of 'productivity' that is aided by powernapping, reminder software, crystals, copper bracelets, iPads, honey ... you get the picture.

What did you achieve?

By |2020-03-19T22:48:23+00:00October 27th, 2012|

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 work if that is what it takes to fill the hours expected of them. So make sure you measure what

Think things through

By |2020-03-19T22:48:23+00:00October 20th, 2012|

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 have broken down the silo mentality of government to coordinate activity across a range of departments.  They have done this

Should we move back to manufacturing?

By |2020-03-19T22:48:23+00:00October 13th, 2012|

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 through manufacturing to services (UK?) are at a disadvantage in the productivity race?

Productivity Conundrum

By |2020-03-19T22:48:23+00:00October 6th, 2012|

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 is falling ... so we need more of them. However, employment figures often lead or lag on economic performance. An

Its a Learning Problem

By |2020-03-19T22:48:23+00:00September 29th, 2012|

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 blame 'poor performance' ... and of course it is poor performance ... on behalf of the management team who should have provided

Small is beautiful

By |2020-03-19T22:48:23+00:00September 22nd, 2012|

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 ... appropriately as a 'one man band' (very lean). For each project, Mike works with volunteers from different areas within the

Spend wisely

By |2020-03-19T22:48:23+00:00September 15th, 2012|

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 result .... but anyone making big investments in IT is likely to be looking at other aspects of the business.

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