Saturday, 28 November 2020


It is amazing how a problem, and especially a disaster, can focus the mind ... focus efforts of individuals and teams ... focus organisations - and even focus nations.

The current pandemic has been very much ‘pan’ - crossing countries and continents. It has seen remarkable global cooperation and collaboration in the search for an effective vaccine, with even the beleaguered WHO (beleaguered thanks to the ex-president of the USA) providing coordination and communication.

The result is a number of potential vaccines being developed and tested in a remarkably short time. - and the first glimmers of hope that the pandemic might soon be under control.

This is a great lesson in facilitating innovation.

Remember those 'C's - cooperation, collaboration, coordination and communication. But mainly remember the immense focus placed on the problem - and therefore on potential solutions. 

When seeking innovation, you must have these conditions in place, serving the efforts of a team or teams who are completely focused on an agreed problem. 

Of course this should preferably be done before disaster strikes :)

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Should the CEO worry about employee productivity?

The obvious answer is ‘Yes’ but is that the right answer?

it depends on what you means by ‘worry about’.

The CEO needs to worry about ‘big issues’ - those that directly affect achievement of strategic aims and the overall mission.

Of course, productivity is important.  It is a useful measure of ‘future profit’, of competitiveness.  But is it a big issue?

Yes - but not at the employee level.

Even though the productivity of employees can be aggregated to the level of the organisation  it is not the determining factor of organisational productivity.  What matters is the productivity and effectiveness of the overall ‘system’, of the way various organisational components interact and interplay.

So, productivity is definitely an issue for the CEO - but at the highest levels where it does indeed directly affect achievement of strategic aim and the overall mission. Senior and middle mangers should then address the productivity of the various organisational components - functions, processes, departments, teams - so that productivity is build from the ground (shop floor) up.

The CEO then has no need to worry! 

Saturday, 14 November 2020

A Suitable Platform

Two trends have come together to transform attitudes to technology.

Firstly, hardware (closely followed by software) has become so advanced that many tasks previously thought incapable of being computerised or digitised have now come within application areas

Secondly, people have become used to using technology since they now use their mobile phones for a range of daily tasks.

This means that:

many companies can see opportunities to improve productivity by computerising or adding technology support to a range of processes;

workers are not as frightened of using technology as they might have been even a decade ago.

Of course this is a generalisation.  It is still incumbent on firms to ensure that all employees do, in fact, have the skills they need to work effectively with new technologies.  Firms should also work towards having compatible and complementary software with similar user interfaces and user experiences so that confusion is minimised.

This is often best achieved by adopting a comprehensive, modular technology platform which can be tailored to the company’s needs but maintains a consistent approach across the platform and within all modules.


Saturday, 7 November 2020

Post-Pandemic Policy

A crisis like the one the world is at the moment changes political, economic and business thinking. Long-strategy understandably gives way to survival thinking.... “How can we get through this?”

So, longer (but not that long) issues such as climate change become very much a ‘future nice-to-consider’ rather than an impending issue.

Individual firms (and especially small firms) just have to do what they need to survive the next few months (perhaps, unfortunately, the next few years) and short-term cost savings are more important than considered and balanced thinking.

However, governments have a responsibility to think in the longer-term.  They need to be thinking NOW about the measures they need to take to raise productivity and innovation after the pandemic to raise the revenue to pay off the loans they have taken to pay for their current palliative measures.