The Productivity Paradox

File:City of London skyline at dusk.jpgThis last week saw a further report from the Bank of England that UK productivity has fallen inexplicably behind the nation’s aspirations. There is a compelling picture of the development of productivity over time on the Office of National Statistics (“ONS”) website here.

There is general puzzlement, and disquiet, among UK economists as to why productivity is not improving. It seems to suggest that cutting the costs of production is not at the top of UK business agendas. It’s true that there are other important things to worry about: design and redesign of products and services, reputation, customer experience, workplace engagement, safety and sustainability.

But I suspect that there is nothing more important than productivity. It is only by learning how to do more with less that resources can be freed up to develop novel income streams. Even on matters of safety and environment, it is the efficient organisation that finds the resources to take those matters seriously.

The road to increased productivity is well mapped out. The continual improvement of the alignment between the Voice of the Process and the Voice of the Customer, by the means of diligent criticism of historical data is an open secret.


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