Welcome to Productivity Knowhow

For managers at all levels who are interested in

making big productivity improvements

  • Our focus is on measuring the right things and then finding practical ways to close performance gaps using approaches which have been proven to work well

  • Productivity improvement is a complex subject embracing most management disciplines and affecting all organisations, large and small, in all sectors, public and private

  • Sadly, too many managers believe productivity was relevant to the shop floor in the manufacturing sector alone, not all levels in all sectors, especially services which now dominate ‘developed economies’

  • The upside of widespread productivity improvement is a vast increase in national economic growth rates and standards of living, mostly achieved by reducing unit costs of goods and services enabling many more people to afford them, thereby increasing profits and so pay levels

  • The latter creates even more demand for different and/or better goods and services so economies, standards of living and quality of lives are further improved

  • With such benefits, ‘how to improve productivity’ has become the most important peace-time issue facing any manager or government minister – at least in ‘non-pandemic times’

  • ‘Productivity Knowhow’ Revisited BookThis website offers extracts from the 21 sections of our latest book on productivity – Productivity Knowhow Revisited’ – plus articles posted weekly which address issues raised in them see the right-hand column on this page for a list of them all

  • Together, this website’s pages, the book and the weekly posts target managers on the front-line who are keen to make big productivity improvements but lack the productivity knowhow

  • Their overall aim is to simplify the complex, increase managers’ understanding of how to improve productivity and enable them to take effective action – to the benefit of all

Latest Posts

The NHS’s productivity conundrum

The UK spring budget announced a further £3.4bn for new technology to support an NHS ‘productivity plan’ – however, new technology is no productivity panacea on its own – it usually takes considerable time and a lot of staff training before any new major technology can make a big difference – and the NHS needs …

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A productivity ‘cocked hat’!

As the Nobel prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman once said: “We fixate on anything that can be measured, even badly, and ignore the obvious elsewhere” – Copernicus suffered from such attitudes – the ‘Flat Earth Society’ existed because of them ‘Productivity growth’ has become the holy grail for most developed and developing nations: It determines an …

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“AI could replace almost all forms of labour”!

Sundar Pichal, CEO of Google believes AI will have a more profound impact on humanity than fire, electricity and the internet – it will fundamentally change how we live our lives, and will transform health care, education and manufacturing – and make humans much more productive McKinsey say there’s little doubt that AI can help …

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Meetings are a productivity killer

According to a study reported in Fortune.com by Byjane Thier: “3 in every 4 meetings are totally ineffective – they really should have been just email”. 5,000 knowledge workers across four continents took part in a recent survey by Australian software giant Atlassian and the vast consensus among those respondents was that nothing wastes more of their …

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A 32 hour workweek – When?

Readers will know we’ve been banging on about employees needing to work less hours per week yet produce more outputs and better outcomes – and be rewarded better. Indeed, way back in 1930, the world’s most important economist, John Maynard Keynes, predicted that within 100 years most people would be working no more than 15 …

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“Not another” public sector productivity drive!

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO – National Audit Office – recently highlighted ‘profligate waste‘ found in the UK public sector – for example, he cited: Procurement – A third of contracts worth some £100bn are not subject to competitive tendering Infrastructure projects – Billions have been wasted on HS2 and building 40 new hospitals …

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Faulty Economic Forecasts!

Ryan Bourne, an economics professor at the esteemed Cato Institute, announced in The Times that he believes “Britain is paying a heavy price for faulty economic forecasts” Indeed, much the same could be said about many forecasts on offer in many different walks of life – few understand how such forecasts are produced but, when …

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NHS – ‘The Times Health Commission’ recommendations

The Times reported that Aneurin Bevan, architect of the UK’s NHS, summed up its founding principle by saying: “Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community” But what Bevan did …

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NHS – Measures needed?

Most patients applaud the individual efforts of their doctors, nurses and other NHS staff when treated by them – they clapped even more during the Covid pandemic But, despite more and more being spent on the NHS and many more doctors and nurses being trained, demand keeps rising whilst service levels keep falling All sorts …

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Can Labour really get Britain growing again?

Extracts follow from an insightful and important article by  Andrew Rawnsley, Chief Political Commentator of the Observer, published by the Grauniad – he considers, after years of Tory failure, whether Labour can get Britain growing again? Quite apart from England’s stuttering, albeit successful, start in the Rugby 6 Nations championship and Ronnie Sullivan’s recent triumph on …

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Germany trials a 4DWW amid labour shortage

When Germany, the most productive nation in Europe, decides to try out WFH via a 4-Day-Working-Week, one has to ask ‘why?’ given the debate ongoing about its pros and cons  – it turns out they seek not just to improve their productivity performance, which has been stalling, via extra workforce motivation but also to offset …

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Local Government to produce ‘productivity plans’?

‘Stop press’ – Michael Gove has just ordered councils to produce new ‘productivity plans’. Apparently, several UK local government councils have either gone bust or are very close to it. Armchair experts suggest they never had any realistic plans anyway and, for non-statutory services, they just shelled out more local tax-payers’ money on loopy projects …

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