Pareto at large

If GDP measures are to be believed, some 80% of global GDP is generated by less than 20% of the global population

At global level, the top 20% of economies would appear to have productivity levels at least three to four times better than the rest, the other 80% – and this gap is widening – indeed, the G20 have been likened to super-yacht owners moored in Monte Carlo marina, each forever comparing their boat size with the others whilst ignoring the rest, the relative minnows nearby or the poor spectators gazing enviously from onshore

At national level, 80% of any productivity improvement is usually generated by just 20% of the sectors

And at sector level, the top 20% of organisations account for 80% of any productivity improvement in that sector – they are the ones that seek to continuously improve whilst the other 80% either indulge in tail-gating, are content with their current performance or are struggling to survive

In each case, the winners would appear to want to win far more than the losers and they put far more effort into becoming better still

One would have expected the laggard 80% to at least copy their vanguard betters and so rapidly close most current performance gaps – but quite the opposite seems to be happening

Why so?

  • Diffusion of transformational technology and/ or latest management thinking to most organisations always takes time, not least because most need proof of fitness for use and/ or cash is not available to buy it in and/ or local labour does not have the right skills
  • Most leading business schools and major consultancies ignore efforts to improve the productivity of non-top-20 nations – some 175 of them – instead, they focus their leading-edge wares on nations and organisations who can most afford them i.e. the relatively successful G7 and vanguard organisations within


The result is a huge productivity gap between G7 nations and the rest – and, within any nation, between vanguard organisations in any sector and the rest

So, whilst most in the G7 are well-off, albeit puzzled by their current lack of productivity growth, there’s huge scope to improve on offer everywhere:

  • In the ‘Rest of World’ 175 nations – through using modern ICT, the G7/ G20 can easily pass on best practice information and knowhow
  • In the G7 – via increased use of mobile technology, cloud services, artificial intelligence e.g. to aid doctors and lawyers, big data analytics for retail and drug discoveries, wearable sensors to monitor blood pressure, robots for surgery and eldercare, 3D printing for complex manufacturing like artificial hips or gas turbine blades, 5G wireless


It’s yet another example of Pareto’s Rule, this time applied to global, national and corporate jungles

At each level, the scope to improve is enormous

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