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

Boeing’s MAX 737 disaster

Stan Sorscher, a former Boeing engineers and now a Labour Representative at the SPEEA (Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace) is the author of a letter, reproduced in full below, which he posted to the Seattle Times In it he says Boeing’s cost-cutting culture is to blame for production problems with the 737 MAX …

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Extra task performance measures

Some interesting ideas follow from ‘Entrepreneur Europe’ on ways to assess the performance of a team – marketing or software development, say – and keeping a finger on their pulse Four extra performance measures are proposed: Planned-to-done ratios: How well have plans been executed? What % were completed satisfactorily, or better? Cycle time: Work is …

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Winners need stamina

A question managers often ask is “Why do so many big change projects fail?” It’s not so much the steps they take – all follow much the same basic steps when under way viz: Record facts Examine findings Develop solutions But where most go wrong is with other steps needed before, during and after the …

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Turbocharging Australian productivity

Adrian Blundell-Wignall, former director of the OECD and professor at Sydney University, says: “It’s not enough to tweak R&D incentives – we, Australia, need a detailed plan that will change the whole climate for smart investment and productivity growth During the (recent) election, the focus was on tax cuts and “having a go” The Treasurer …

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The Secret Sauce for productivity?

Greg Hanover, CEO of Liveops Inc, claims organisations that tap into the power of the gig economy see much increased (% ?) workforce engagement and productivity Why so? He believes it’s because independent workers are empowered to follow their unique goals and create satisfying careers for themselves And he’s right – it’s not only good …

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