The Productivity Paradox
Technology has allowed us to spend less time gathering information, and more time using it. In the information age, this is crucial. Just think how the spreadsheet replaced the calculator and paper records — then add email and other software that makes our lives easier. One would think that productivity would be increasing all the time, as technology improves, but this is not the case.
Ryan Fuller, who leads a Microsoft business unit focused on making organisational analytics capabilities broadly available, has looked at recent data that suggest otherwise: that overall labour productivity has only grown some 1-2% per year during the tech boom. That’s not good, considering the investment into everything that goes into increasing productivity.
Fuller’s article on HBR.org looks at the reasons, with a real-life example taken from the business he co-founded that was acquired by Microsoft.
For anyone interested in productivity in large organisations, there’s a lot here to be learned. Like most HBR.org articles, it’s written by an expert and goes into enough detail to make a long read worthwhile.