1. Productivity in the Digital Age should be about outcomes for customers
Consumer fulfilment is about many things, especially with services. A focus on physical outputs can miss some of these. We recommend that businesses and government adopt an outcome measure.
2. The term productivity must be detoxified
In the modern age, productivity should be about equipping workers for fulfilling and productive careers, not just driving them harder. Many businesses are embracing this narrative. We recommend that many more do so and that government helps promote this.
3. To be a productive people the UK must win the Global Education Arms Race
Productivity requires creative and entrepreneurial people. Neither the UK’s existing education and training system nor the government’s maladroit educational responses to digital will deliver the skills we need. We recommend learning from strong examples across the globe.
4. Productivity requires productive management
Productivity needs to be an explicit part of the remit of all business managers. Training programmes for management should encourage the necessary mix of creative, analytical and entrepreneurial skills
5. Productivity requires a culture of Digital Excellence
Digital helps enhance productivity. But to use digital optimally means firms must deploy it alongside fundamental programmes of business transformation and ensure that they have suitably skilled and trained staff. We recommend that new digital investments should be accompanied by work on strategy, transformation, culture and human resourcing.
6. Uncertainty kills the UK’s productive potential
The prospect of a No-Deal Brexit undermines business confidence and investment. We recommend that government listens to business and gets a grip
on the issue.
7. Productivity needs a world-class physical, social and investment infrastructure
A step change in investment in our transport systems, especially in poorly connected and underperforming parts of the UK, is needed. We also recommend that government should use improved productivity performance as a criterion for investment decisions and where possible support cutting-edge solutions.
8. Productivity is an issue for all businesses, large and small
Government’s focus on the ‘long-tail’ of SMEs is unhelpful. To achieve real gains, large UK corporates will need to reach and exceed their pre-2008 productivity performance. We recommend that government changes its focus.
9. Government must match business’s sophistication on productivity
Business is becoming increasingly fundamental, wide-ranging and customer-orientated in its understanding of productivity. Policymakers need to catch up. We recommend that government and statisticians examine new measures of economic value, linking productivity gains to outcomes, as well as to important externalities such as sustainability.
10. Business advisors and consultants can play their part in transforming UK’s productivity
Business is manifestly serious about productivity. Consultants’ offers on strategy, efficiency, digital and quality can help. We recommend that consultants should flag up how their products can benefit productivity, and where appropriate develop integrated or even new productivity services.