Lots of countries that expanded their productivity through the 1980s and 1990s have slowed to a crawl.  Their ‘growth engines’ seem to have disappeared or been dismantled.  COVID-19 may have been the final nail in the coffin (or the puncture in the tyre).

Many of these companies are still trying to restart their engines – but with little success.

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I think the general belief in flexible working is unfounded – and is part of the problem, not the solution.

The extended lines of communication – and particularly, collaboration – result in less innovation, less consensus, less shared understanding of mission and vision – and in more confusion and complexity.

Organisations need to move from ‘copycat’ products and processes to fresh, innovative, extended products and services, and new ways of working underpinned as appropriate with new technologies – all focused on improving quality and efficiency, more consistency and less waste.

At the same time, organisations must pay attention to the ‘softer’ issues – such as culture and the training, development and  empowerment of staff, releasing potential to explore – and share -new ideas.  This is what fuels the growth engine.

Governments, for their part, must review and revise the infrastructure – transport, technology, macro-economic, regulatory.  All of these components must be in place if the new growth engine is to work effectively.

Some countries used to so this well.

They can again.