Saturday, 29 November 2008

We all measure productivity - but not always the same way

An interesting 'productivity measure' caught my eye recently ....

Johannesburg has eased out Cape Town as the most productive municipality, according to Municipal IQ, a specialised South African local government data and intelligence service.

Johannesburg is ranked as the most productive place to work, live and invest in South Africa. It is followed by Tshwane, Cape Town and eThekwini, as reported by Local Government Research Centre director Clive Keegan.

Municipal IQ - headed by Kevin Allan, a former adviser to the provincial and local government minister, and economist Karen Heese - has ranked all 283 South African municipalities according to a productivity index.

It calculates productivity by measuring the extent of poverty in a municipality and its response through the provision of free basic services; access to a minimum level of municipal services, specifically water, sanitation, refuse removal and electricity; economic activity and infrastructure; municipal financial governance; and occupancy rates in the municipal administration.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Interesting Foods

I am indebted to Prof Albert Prins (who I have never met ... but that's a long story) for the observation that there only 4 interesting foods ... wine, beer, bread, cheese ... all of which demand real expertise, real experience and real committment if they are going to be made well. Any nominations for a 5th?

Innovation in Rotterdam

I am in Rotterdam at the World Food Technology & Innovation Forum. Interesting talks and discussions (though some are a bit too 'foody' to me as more of a generalist). However I know that one often learns from other spheres than your own, so I AM paying attention ... and slowly the lessons are starting to emerge. Key message so far? Open innovation (including others - suppliers, customers, external experts ... in your innovation process) might be scary, might be more expensive - but it gets away from the "If you always think how you always thought, you'll always get what you always got" syndrome.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Remember this one thing

I am on my way back to the UK after a successful visit to China. As often happens, one particular thing stuck in my mind... someone said that China uses one tenth of the world's farmland to feed one fifth of the world's population. Pretty impressive agricultural productivity! ... or am I missing something?

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Quality and or but ...

I am in Beijing having flown here on Qatar Airways via Doha. The airline claims to be a '5 star airline' and service was undeniably excellent. How was productivity? Almost impossible to tell but in 'conventional' terms, I suspect it was quite low. Quality and productivity can go hand in hand but when organisations are seeking to appeal to a 'luxury' market, the level of service needs to be exceptionally high. There is, of course, a different view. I have argued in the past that the 'top line' of the productivity ratio (where the value is added) should be measured in customer perceived benefit - and assuming customers are willing to pay for the level of service offered, then productivity can still be high.

I suspect from the pricing of Qatar flights, that there is an exercise in national promotion going on and that the costs of delivering the quality of service offered are not necessarily recovered from the pricing strategy. If this is the case, quality is high but productivity is low,

... but I enjoyed the flight! And I suspect that the 'strategy' is working in terms of making flyers recognise the excellence of Qatar airlines and think differently about the state.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Blogging makes you more productive

Surely not, I hear you say. All that time taken up in writing the blog must reduce personal productivity!

Most bloggers work in one or both of two ways .. they blog things which 'happen' (easy) or they reflect on issues, concerns, activities, etc and think about lessons that emerge (more difficult). After a time, however, these 'lessons' present themselves more quickly - as your mind becomes attuned to the type of things you are looking for. And this process of consideration and reflection spills over to other activities. Soon, you find yourself finding 'insights' from unexpected sources.

'Thinking' becomes second nature - instead of a chore ... and thought processes improve.

Well, that's my experience ... if you read this stuff on a regular basis, you might have a view as to whether I'm right.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


At a meeting yesterday, someone asked about the IPR rights to a project we are working on. I replied that the partner company owned the stone being thrown into the water .... but we own the ripples! Such partnerships always have unexpected benefits.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

World Productivity Congress for Turkey

Kerim Unal, the Director of the Turkish National Productivity Centre, Peter Rehnstrom, President of the European Association of National Productivity Centres and John Heap, President of the World Confederation of Productivity Science (and writer of this blog!) have signed an agreement to hold the next World Productivity Congress together with the European Productivity Conference in Turkey in 2010. (The 2009 European Productivity conference will be geld in Grimsby in the UK in October 2009.)

Details will follow and ProdBlog will keep you updated.