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

New technology needs new models

According to the WEF – World Economic Forum – manufacturing executives today are confronted with an enormous variety of promising new technologies, ranging from artificial intelligence to connected machinery to 3D printing, all of them offering some combination of cost savings, quality improvements and increased flexibility They then say it’s tempting to think that a …

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Puzzle – What puzzle?

“The Miracle Years Are Over – get used to It” So announced Ruchir Sharma, a contributing opinion writer for the NEW YORK TIMES, in a well-argued article reprinted with only minor tweaks below Across the world, economists have had to downgrade growth forecasts – but it’s not as bad as it sounds Last year (2018) …

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Gallup’s ‘most profound’ finding

The Wall Street Journal suggested there could be a single fix for many of the big problems that companies experience – hiring better middle managers They based this on a Gallup study that found a company’s productivity depended on the quality of these crucial leaders – managers don’t just influence results, they explain a full …

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Productive recidivists

Over 70% of offenders re-offend within one year! Why is this? Most prisoners are locked up for most of the day and not treated well by the officers which surely makes them worse than they were at the start, not better – in these Universities of Crime, they learn to despise authority, not learn a …

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Catching the right fish

With globalisation, all organisations can fish for new recruits in the one big pond But the most successful anglers are they who hire on merit, not in their own image, according to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at Columbia University in his book Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders An article …

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