Author's details

Date registered: February 28, 2017


Dick Smythe was educated at Bolton School, graduated in pure mathematics and statistics at St Andrews University and then took a masters in Operations Research at Birmingham University • He became a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, Operational Research Society, Institute of Management Services and the Institute of Physical Distribution Management • His career started with a scholarship from Dorman Long Steel on Teesside, working shifts on blast furnaces and steel mills before graduating and, afterwards, in their OR department – he subsequently moved to London to join the world-famous BISRA OR department, then part of British Steel, and was involved in their corporate planning and cost reduction programmes • During these earlier years, he became an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve, serving on their coastal minesweepers, and a wing forward for Rosslyn Park RFC (n'th XV), playing mostly for their famed après-rugby • He was then recruited by Europe's leading consultancy of the day, PA Consulting Group, and went on to set up and grow their Productivity Services Division into a significant part of the business, becoming a PA director and sitting on their UK management consultancy board - whilst there, he led a joint study with the CBI into UK productivity, and presented the results on TV, radio and to the national press with Director General Sir John Banham - The Times leader commented: "It is refreshing to come across something that has its feet firmly planted on the ground" • Since then, he has mixed productivity consultancy work with playing the property and stock markets, skippering his own boat in the Fastnet and many other ocean yacht races and keeping his golf handicap down to single figures • He is happily married, has two sons and two grandchildren to date, and lives either by the Solent or at Marble Arch in London

Latest posts

  1. AI the next GPT? — June 28, 2017
  2. Baumol’s disease explains puzzle? — June 27, 2017
  3. BA put customers last — June 24, 2017
  4. Productivity important? – Yes – Measured? – No! — June 23, 2017
  5. Political Parties’ Productivity Plans — June 22, 2017

Author's posts listings

Jun 28

AI the next GPT?

June, 2017 PWC – Price Waterhouse Coopers, the management consultancy – claim global GDP will be some 14% higher in 2030 as a result of AI – Artificial Intelligence This is equivalent to an extra $15.7trn The greatest gains will be realised in China and North America Anand Rao, global leader of AI at PWC …

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Jun 27

Baumol’s disease explains puzzle?

June, 2017 Willaim Baumol recently died aged 95 – ‘Baumol’s disease’ is thought by some to explain the current productivity puzzle afflicting most developed nation’s economies, especially their labour-intensive service industries e.g. heathcare, education, performing arts Quoting from an article by George Will in The Washington Post, Senator Daniel Moynihan explained this disease: “The number …

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Jun 24

BA put customers last

June, 2017 One could only be amazed when the (once) ‘world’s favourite airline’, British Airways, suffered a catastrophic breakdown of its computer operating system a weekend or so ago bringing all its flights to a standstill In particular, its management reacted badly by failing to keep their thousands of stranded passengers informed about what was …

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Jun 23

Productivity important? – Yes – Measured? – No!

June, 2017 Capita recently surveyed 250 managers and 250 workers across a range of UK industries including retail, logistics and construction They found a ‘huge disconnect’ between the number of managers who feel productivity is important and those who actually measure it Key findings were: Just 32% of bosses feel their business is very productive …

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Jun 22

Political Parties’ Productivity Plans

June, 2017 Productivity is the biggest peacetime issue facing all UK political parties – annual improvements are vital if living standards and average earnings are to be raised – so what did their recent manifestos say about it? Conservative Manifesto: Introduce a National Productivity Investment Fund – to spend £23bn by the end of the …

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May 20

Never has so much help been focussed on so few

May, 2017 The top 20 national economies on Planet Earth currently  comprise some 80% of global GDP – and the top 20% of organisations within those economies, the vanguard, are usually the only ones who continuously improve whilst the other 80%, tail-gaters or laggards, never catch up or fall further behind Why so? Diffusion of  transformational …

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May 15

Productivity positions built on sand

May, 2017 On Friday, 12 May, 2017, I read an article about Chinese productivity posted by Bloomberg journalist Michael Schuman and sent him the following email: Michael, I read your article about Chinese productivity with great interest The first step in any major productivity improvement drive is indeed to establish the current position – where are you …

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May 12

CEOs rate potential of new technology ‘very low’

May, 2017 A new Gartner survey of 388 CEOs/ senior executives found they rated as “very low” the potential for productivity improvement from new breakthrough technologies i.e. IoT, AI, blockchain (secure databases) and 3D printing In particular, when asked for their ‘top enabling technology for improving productivity’: Only 2% chose IoT – and only 1% picked …

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May 11

Unipart & Vanguard show ‘Ways’ for BIG improvements

May, 2017 Productivity is the most important peacetime issue facing any nation or organisation – therefore, one would expect all governments and major business schools, management organisations and consultancies to focus on it Not so   For example: The UK has no well-known, well-supported productivity ‘centre of excellence’ e.g. a UK Productivity Centre – HMG …

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Apr 26

By George, ‘every company is dying’

April, 2017 According to Sir George Buckley, a top quality UK export from the North of England to the USA and now Chairman of Stanley Black & Decker and Smiths Group,  the ‘basic building blocks are the same in all companies’ George says: ‘At the 30,000ft level, every company needs: A dream To know what …

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