The goal of the exercise is to identify a working definition of “productivity” that:1. Resonates with our core audience2. Is culturally relevant3. Takes into consideration historical truths about the word itself4. Produces strategic insights for our communications strategySuccess will be judged against these criteria, and our exploration will be guided byitGoal
ContentsPart 1 – Historical ImperativesWe’ll examine traditional definitions and historical tensions about productivity.Part 2 – The Crisis In ProductivityWe’ll examine how traditional definitions and a focus on short-term productivity gains have brought us into crisis.Part 3 – The Intangible AgeWe’ll examine how the age of information and the digital revolution are changing the definitions of what it is to be productive.Part 4 – Innovations in ProductivityWe’ll examine how new tools and thinkers are changing the way we think about productivity.Part 5 – Generating Benefit StatementsWe’ll create benefit statements from the consumer perspective on the value of productivity.Part 6 – Mapping Our StatementsWe’ll create four-quadrant axis and map our statements in relation to one another.Part 7 – Mapping Our CompetitionAs part of a thought exercise, we’ll look at the smartphone market, map our competition and generate a strategic recommendation.
Our thinking will be in two partsPart 1 – Historical ImperativesWe’ll examine traditional definitions and historical tensions about productivity.Part 2 – The Crisis In ProductivityWe’ll examine how traditional definitions and a focus on short term productivity gains have brought us into crisis.Part 3 – The Intangible AgeWe’ll examine how the age of information and the digital revolution are changing the definitions of what it is to be productive.Part 4 – Innovations in ProductivityWe’ll examine how new tools and thinkers are changing the way we think about productivity.Part 5 – Generating Benefit StatementsWe’ll create benefit statements from the consumer perspective on the value of productivity.Part 6 – Mapping Our StatementsWe’ll create and four quadrant axis and map our statements in relation to one another.Part 7 – Mapping Our CompetitionAs part of a thought exercise we’ll look at the smartphone market, map our competition and generation a strategic
Productivity:The rate at which goods or services are produced in relationto units of labor.Product:An article or substance that is manufactured or refined forsale.Labor:Physical or mental exertion toward a specific task.Increased productivity:Extracting maximum value from less units of labor (i.e., lessman hours or less workers).Traditional Definitions
1. HISTORICAL IMPERITIVES“History is philosophy teaching by examples. ”~Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War
The Pyramids didn’t build themselvesThe history of productivity - that is tosay, extracting maximum value from lessunits of labor - begins with the history ofslavery.In a world with no machines, humans hadto fill the role with muscle, blood andsweat. Complex cultural ideologies weredeveloped so that humans could subjugateother humans in the service of societalgoals and projects.To examine productivity is to face an uglytruth: that actions that do not valuehuman well-being have nonethelessdriven short-term productivity gainsthroughout history.But how?
This system has continued for over 6,000 years…“We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same timeexploit the cheap slave labor that is available from the natives of the colonies. The colonies wouldalso provide a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories.”Cecil John Rhodes, Founder of De Beers Diamond Company(July 1853 – 26 March 1902)Thousands of years have brought humankind threedeadly tools to boost productivity in the short term.War: Maximizes an economy toward the efficientproduction of materials.Colonialism: The control of a nation over a dependentcountry or people for the exploitation of naturalresources.SlaveryForced labor or wage slavery (such as child labor).All are extraordinarily effective ways of extractingmaximumvalue from units of labor for a short period of time.A Child Laborer, New York City 1863Historical tensions with productivity
The Cotton Gin helped eliminate an economicneed for slavery in the Southern USATechnological ShiftHowever, the Industrial Age created a new paradigmwhereby forcing higher levels of productivity from machinesbecame cheaper and more effective than subjugating otherhuman beings to do manual labor.The definition of productivity during this time underwent itsfirst transition from being mainly concerned with humanpower to being mainly about industrial machine power.New Labor LawsOf course, humans were still needed to operatemachines, so a new tension arose in regard to productivity.how to maximize value from both humans and machinesworking together.But because machines were expensive to operate, costly tofix and potentially hazardous, new labor laws were put intoplace to maximize productivity by calculating some measureof human health and well-being into day-to-day operations.Technological DisruptionWelsh Factory Workers
This system has continued for over 6,000 years…Modern Tensions With ProductivityMaximizing The TangibleHistorically speaking, we’ve come to an extremely advancedplace of understanding on how we maximize human productivityfrom a physical standpoint. We know precisely how many hourshumans need to sleep, eat and exercise to remain healthy. Wehave a deeper understanding of training, information retentionand education. We have medicines to keep us healthy whenother precautions fail, and in the industrialized West we enjoy avariety of employee safeguards and benefits which help plan forretirement and accidents on the job.Ignoring The True CostsBut productivity remains extremely contentious because the waywe measure it does not take into account emotional well-beingor, more importantly, the externalized and intangible costs ofproduction and labor which, over time, compound into largeproblems for individuals and society as a whole.Six thousand years of trial and error have revealed a fundamentaltruth: what benefits the short term often is detrimental in the longterm.
2. CRISIS IN PRODUCTIVITY“Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is likelightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may make you feellike you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you feel the impact.”U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, 2010
Traditional measurements of productivityoften ignores long-term costsRobert is the firm’s top producer. He travels 80% of his time and finds it nearlyimpossible to eat a low-sodium diet on the road. After 20 years of highproductivity, he has a heart attack that permanently disables him at the age of 50.Maria is one of fastest workers on the assembly line but finds her job tedious andworks so many hours that her marriage collapsed. Over time she slips into a deepdepression and, despite being productive at work, takes her own life. She leavesbehind thousands in debts and a teenage daughter to her estranged husband.Rodger is an extraordinarily productive athlete who constantly strives to improve. Oneday a minor knee injury occurs, and Rodger ignores it in the spirit of being productivefor his team. On the last game of the season, a light tackle collapses his weakknee, and he never plays again.These real-life stories demonstrate that productivity, as judged by short-term increases in speed or volume, can have serious consequences foran individual.But what about society as a whole?
• 97% of clothing is now produced outside USA• Industrial manufacturing is set to decline 9% by2018• Electronics manufacturing is set to decline 19% by2018Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics• 11% of U.S. Homes are now vacant• Home sales are down 80% since 2005• 2.87 Million houses repossessedSources: Business Insider, Bloomburg• 19 consecutive years of glacier retreat• 100 million people will be displaced by 2050• Extinction of a million species by 2050Sources: National Geographic,World Glacier Monitoring CenterUnited Nations’ Panel on Climate ChangeIndividual acts to increase short-term productivitycompound to create collective problems.Demandfor short termproductivity gainscausesabundance…Consequencessurface for the long term…Problemsresult in a collective crisis…Easy loans and House FlippingCheap wood products and fossil fuels Cheap, discounted garmentsHousing bubble crash Global warming Manufacturing leaves USA
Blow-back noun /ˈblōˈbak/The unintended adverse results of an action or situation.Productivity that doesn’t factor insustainability isn’t truly productiveSocietal Personal
3. THE INTANGIBLE AGE“The way you increase programmer productivity is not by increasing the lines of code per programmer per day. Thatdoesn’t work. The way you get programmer productivity is by eliminating lines of code you have to write. The line ofcode that’s the fastest to write, that never breaks, that doesn’t need maintenance, is the line you never had to write.”Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple speaking in 1997
Ancient History Industrial Age Modern Age Information Age• Human labor-centric• Creation of the tangible• Requires top-down leadership• Requires humans to act as machines• Measures only tangible costs• Machine labor-centric• Creation of the intangible• Requires diverse leadership• Requires humans to create machines• Measures total costsOld Model of Productivity New Model of ProductivityWe’re in a major shift in the history of productivity
Brands selling services and intangible goods are booming2001 2005 2011TOP 10 MOST VALUABLE BRANDS
Selling the intangibleTANGIBLE WIDGETS DIGITAL WIDGETSVS.How has this new dynamic changed our ways of thinking and measuring productivity?• Require mechanical machines to create, package andship• Require physical materials to be utilized in creation• Produce by-products• Require software and computing power• Require very small amounts of physical materials to be utilized in their creation• Can be eliminated by deleting hard drives
Measuring intangible costs to increase productivityIn the United States, 35 million are food insecureThe easy calculation to make is that it costs the U.S.A. $96 billion a year in socialprograms, taxes and subsidized medical care due to food insecurity alone.Any deep examination of productivity - that is, the rate at which products and services arecreated per unit of labor, must take into account that modern tools and techniques formeasuring “indirect” costs have grown increasingly sophisticated. Consider the cost of foodinsecurity.Source: Harvard School of Public Health (2007) “The Cost of Hunger in America”But that number jumps to $500 billion when you factor in the lost productivity ofcitizens who are not living, consuming and working.
Recalculating productivityLong-term societal costs Human sustainability Measuring indirect costs?
Recalculating productivityLong-term societal costs Human sustainability Measuring indirect costsHow will these factors affect the future?
Extraordinary new tools altering the cultureProductivity in socializingSocial media has eliminated the pain pointsand barriers of keeping in touch with friendsby bringing everyone to one place in a real-time, transparent, always-on forum.Productivity in collaborationInnovations like video conferencing andGoogle Docs have given us the tools toreplicate face-to-face exercises in realtime.Productivity in the cloudNow access to your content is hardwareagnostic, opening up a world of flexibilityand freedom.Productivity in 4GNow we can stream content we never beforecould and download important files fasterthan ever, all through citywide networks thatmake the “hot spot” obsolete.Productivity in PortabilityThe explosion of smartphones and tabletshave allowed us to bring high-poweredcomputing tasks into places we never beforecould. Smaller, thinner form factors areaccommodating nearly every scenariowhere technology is wanted.Productivity in publishingThe tools to create and publish content areeasier, more accessible and cheaper thanever. Publishers can create better contentmore often and publish it to more people.
Extraordinary new tools altering the cultureProductivity in sharingThe tools to share content you discoverhave become increasingly accessible andplentiful. With one click of the mouse, youcan share anarticle, video, URL, etc., through a multitudeof methods online.Productivity in communicationThe phone call has been replaced by textmessaging to facilitate multitasking, allow us tochoose our words more carefully and havemultiple conversations at once.Productivity in dataThe massive amount of data that flowsthrough our servers and websites hasfacilitated more transparent results inrealtime, allowing us to makebetter, faster, more-informed decisions onthe fly.Productivity in learningEducation technology has opened up doorsto students that could never access or affordproper learning. Lectures through iTunes,online universities like Phoenix and rewards-based learning software are just a fewexamples of how technology is eliminatingbarriers to learning for more people.Productivity through benefitsGoogle’s corporate environment has taughtus the value of unique employee benefits asa catalyst for more productivity. Whether it’sdog sitting, gourmet food, dry cleaning orwirelessly connected buses, each benefit ismeant to increase happiness, focus andtime on your professional duties.Productivity through groupsInnovations like Groupon have been a boonfor businesses and consumers alike makingthe selling process more efficient forbusinesses and easier and more attractivefor consumers.
Productivity through recommendationsWhether it’s Amazon orPandora, technology has decreased theeffort needed to discover new content orgoods. Algorithms study our habits to betterinform our decision making and increase ourproductivity as consumers. Moreover, siteslike Yelp use the power of the crowd tobetter inform decision making.Productivity through mobile purchaseAlthough it’s a new frontier, soon more andmore people and businesses will beembracing the concept of the mobilewallet, making our purchases faster andeasier than ever.Productivity in givingTechnology and social movements haveeliminated much of the effort needed to giveback to people in need. Whether it’s textingthe Red Cross, buying Tom’s shoes or usingyour Brighter Planet credit card, helping outis easier and thus more productive thanever.Extraordinary new tools altering the culture
How can we look at productivity through the lensof sustainable human greatness?
Increased speed Increased qualityProductivityIncreased skillHuman Benefits of Productivity (Laddering)I will have more time I will achieve mastery I will create quality things and experiencesto relax to pursue mypassionsto be withpeopleI loveover a problem over knowledgeover my craft for othersto enjoyfor itsown sakeso others willbe in awe of me
Being productive gives me the time to rest when I choose.Being productive gives me the time to play when I choose.Being productive gives me the time to be with the people I love.Being productive means I will be better at what I do.Being productive means I will be smarter than other people.Being productive means I will outcompete my rivals.Being productive means I will inspire others to be better.Being productive means others will love me.Being productive means I will serve the needs of others.Human Benefits of ProductivityTimeCreationMastery
What are the tensions to map our statements against?Sustainable vs. Short-termIndividual vs. CollectiveRational vs. Emotional
CollectiveSustainable Emotional Short-termIndividualBeing productive gives me thetime to be with the people I love.Being productive meansI will serve the needs of others.RationalBeing productive meansI will inspire others to be better.Being productive means Iwill outcompete my rivals.Being productive meansothers will love me.Being productive gives methe time to play when I choose.Being productive gives methe time to rest when I choose.Being productive meansI will be better at what I do.Being productive meansI will be smarter than other people.Mapping Our Benefits
CollectiveSustainable EmotionalIndividualTIME WITH FAMILYSERVE OTHERSRationalINSPIRE OTHERSOUTCOMPETE RIVALSACHIEVE GLORYTIME TO PLAYTIME TO RESTMORE SKILLEDSMARTERRenaming Our BenefitsShort-term
7. MAPPING THE COMPETITIONSmartphone market example study
SustainableIndividualRationalRest & Family“Being productive gives me the time to rest when Ichoose.”“The phone to save ourselves from our phones.”Windows 7 phones are all about breaking productivity arelaxing. Its communications show a world of people whare missing life as it goes by them and need a device thhelps them unplug and “get back to life,” with loved oneMicrosoftShort-termTIME WITH FAMILYTIME TO REST
EmotionalIndividualCompete & Smart“Being productive means I will outcompete my rivals.”Who talks about productivity as beingcompetitive?“If you don’t have an iPhone, well, you don’t have an iPhone.”Apple goes the long mile to demonstrate features worthbragging about while lacing in competitive language to seproducts “best,” “number 1,” and phrases like “thenyou don’t have_______.Apple“Being productive means I will be smarter than otherShort-termOUTCOMPETE RIVALSSMARTER
EmotionalIndividualPlay & LoveWho talks about productivity as play?“Being productive gives me the time to play when Ichoose”HTC“You need a phone that gets you.”HTC’s “You” campaign is all about young people finding timto play and be themselves. Their communications are abougoing out, being with friends, being social and being apprec“Being productive means others will love me.”Short-termACHIEVE GLORYTIME TO PLAY
SustainableIndividualRationalSkilled & Smarter“Being productive means I will be better at what I do.”“Turning you into an instrument of efficiency.”Motorola Droid phone consistently talks about speed andcutting-edge technology. Their communications are heavon numbers, insider terms, and a focus on efficiency.“Being productive means I will be smarter than otherMORE SKILLEDSMARTER
Sustainable RationalLeadership & Service“Live what you do.”BlackBerry owns the workplace. Their spots speak toserving a collective need better and to rationally getting ahin the grind. The sell is unemotional and about investmenin the future (usually in the community or small business).“Being productive means I will inspire others to bebetter.”“Being productive means I will serve the needs ofShort-termSERVE OTHERSINSPIRE OTHERS