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

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Author's posts

What kills change?

A question many managers often ask is “Why do so many big change projects fail?” It’s not so much the steps they take – all follow the same basic steps when under way viz: Record facts Examine findings Develop solutions   But, as detailed in the book ‘Productivity Knowhow’, where most go wrong is with …

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Productivity improvement must involve all employees

The following are extracts from an article in the Huffingtom Post by Mike Clancy, General secretary of Prospect – one must involve all employees, all the time, for effective productivity improvement The UK is not productive enough and we do not share wealth widely enough: Unemployment may be historically low but public satisfaction with the economy …

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The perfect working environment?

According to an article by Michael Odell in The Times, Basecamp is a US software/ tech company that supposedly runs without the scourge of 80 hour weeks, unrealistic deadlines, weekend emails and meetings Two American guys, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, run Basecamp – they’re also authors of a new book called It Doesn’t have …

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Robots at Work

The Financial Times has just reported on a study “Robots at Work,” written by Georg Graetz, a researcher at the Department of Economics, Uppsala University, and Guy Michaels, London School of Economics, which examines the impact of industrial robots on jobs, productivity and growth. Industrial robots are programmable and are widely used for assembly, packaging, inspection and …

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Uncontrolled immigration reduces UK productivity

The following are extracts from an article in Moneyweek by James Lewisohn September’s Migration Advisory Committee report on immigration to the UK from Europe was much commented on, largely because it claimed that European migration into the UK has caused only “small impacts” to our economy compared to other events such as the post-Brexit Referendum devaluation of …

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