Saturday, 25 April 2009

We meet ... so we can meet elsewhere!

I leave Montreal today. We have been planning future World Productivity Congresses, confirming the 2010 event will be in Turkey and establishing the 2012 event in Canada (which is why we have been here in Montreal). We then hope to have a celebratory event in 2013 in India as this was the location for our first Congress in 1973 and this new event will mark the 40th anniversary.

Along the way we also managed to clear other business ... so a very productive meeting.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Guilty ... or not guilty?

Today is 'Earth Day' ... a day when we are all supposed to think about, and possibly act on, the effect we are having (individually and collectively) on the planet.

I am at a Board meeting of the World Confederation of Productivity Science in Montreal and we will be discussing, amongst other things, issues relating to environmental productivity ... ways in which we can be more productive whilst minimising - even reversing - the negative environmental effects of business.

Yet, I flew here from the UK ... increasing my personal carbon footprint. I offset - but I don't really accept that that 'does the job'. Like many others - indeed most of us - I'm in this trap of wanting to do 'my bit' but realising that the world is complex and trade-offs have to be made.

Many businesses are the same ... especially now when saving the planet seems to come a long way back after saving the business.

Nobody said this was going to be easy. We all have to stumble through it as best we can ... but always mindful of the harm we do alongside the good.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Montreal madness?

This week sees me travelling to a Board meeting of the World Confederation of Productivity Science in Montreal. We hope to take a decision as to whether to hold the World Productivity Congress in 2012 in North America or in India. Each carries its own share of advantages and risks ... which we have to weigh ... fairly and evenly.

But often in such decisions there is also something else .. a spark of difference which overrides the careful number-crunching. Will we see it in the two presentations? If so, will we be mad enough to go with the spark in the face of logic?

Watch this space!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Times are tough!

We all know that the world economy is bad ... so we have to try that much harder to be more productive ... and add more value to what we do. Recent official figures from (South) Korea show that labour productivity grew by just 0.3% in 2008 ... mainly because labour wage rates are rising faster than in other nations. They don't need me to tell them this is not a good omen for the future!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Sunday Productiviy Proverbs

Today is Sunday. I am still in Bilbao - but I leave today. Sunday is a day of rest, so rather than comment on significant issues I report on a conversation I had with a colleague yesterday at which we agreed there was a need for one or more productivity proverbs. (Well, there was a need after a beer and a couple of glasses of wine.)

I give you my first attempts ... all with a different flavour.

1. Too many cooks make the meal expensive
2. First ask the reason Why?; then ask the question How?
3. The world's most efficient company wastes resources.

Can you do better? If so, please send your suggestions.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Can you buy this?

I am in Bilbao at a meeting of the European Association of National Productivity Centres. Besides our weighty discussions, we meet informally and share meals, conversations and so on. Last night I got involved in a discussion with two Belgians and a Finn about the intelligence of pigs and how it compares to other creatures.

Such conversations - perhaps meaningless in the great scheme of things - are often a real delight .. and oddly enough help shape the way you think about the world ... so they are not unproductive.

They also remind you why videoconferencing and online conferencing - good as they are - are not a substitute for face-to-face communications.