Only new ideas will boost productivity

Press/Media: Press / Media

Description

Your editorial (Coalition must explain then grow our 1pc economy) correctly pointed out the pressing need for policies that can improve national productivity. However, low productivity growth is an international phenomenon. While a coherent Australian energy policy might help a little, we need solutions that look beyond local political debates.

Many recent large capital expansion projects, and not just in Australia, have disappointed investors because of engineering and project management weaknesses, overpromising and under-delivering. Research into the causes suggests that education institutions, world-wide, are rearing a generation focused on individual achievement while undermining collaboration and leadership skills. Instead of building students’ perception skills, assessment practices reinforce the notion that writing is more valued than reading or listening to others. Effective leadership, however, depends on listening and reading the emotions of other people: skills that are hardly mentioned in university courses. Detailed written documents, widely thought to be the essence of effective project management, have limited effect without highly developed reading skills combined with effective collaboration and leadership. The same research highlights opportunities to bridge obvious gaps in university courses and tenuous workplace education efforts.

Technological innovation is needed as well, but the meaning has withered, rarely used outside the context of information and mobile apps. Simple economics tells that with information growing exponentially, its value must become vanishingly small. “Technology” needs a renewed focus on high value products and services, and less on information. Our engineers need to be reminded that their job is to enable people to produce more value with less effort, material resources, energy, health risks and environmental disturbances: something not taught in universities.

Attempting to rejig industrial relations, tax policy and other Australian political controversies to restore productivity growth is like bashing loose nails on an old and rickety wooden fence. Let’s invest in research and new ideas that make fences unnecessary.

Period25 Jul 2019

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleOnly new ideas will boost productivity
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletAustralian Financial Review
    Media typePrint
    CountryAustralia
    Date25/07/19
    DescriptionYour editorial (Coalition must explain then grow our 1pc economy) correctly pointed out the pressing need for policies that can improve national productivity. However, low productivity growth is an international phenomenon. While a coherent Australian energy policy might help a little, we need solutions that look beyond local political debates.
    Many recent large capital expansion projects, and not just in Australia, have disappointed investors because of engineering and project management weaknesses, overpromising and under-delivering. Research into the causes suggests that education institutions, world-wide, are rearing a generation focused on individual achievement while undermining collaboration and leadership skills. Instead of building students’ perception skills, assessment practices reinforce the notion that writing is more valued than reading or listening to others. Effective leadership, however, depends on listening and reading the emotions of other people: skills that are hardly mentioned in university courses. Detailed written documents, widely thought to be the essence of effective project management, have limited effect without highly developed reading skills combined with effective collaboration and leadership. The same research highlights opportunities to bridge obvious gaps in university courses and tenuous workplace education efforts.
    Technological innovation is needed as well, but the meaning has withered, rarely used outside the context of information and mobile apps. Simple economics tells that with information growing exponentially, its value must become vanishingly small. “Technology” needs a renewed focus on high value products and services, and less on information. Our engineers need to be reminded that their job is to enable people to produce more value with less effort, material resources, energy, health risks and environmental disturbances: something not taught in universities.
    Attempting to rejig industrial relations, tax policy and other Australian political controversies to restore productivity growth is like bashing loose nails on an old and rickety wooden fence. Let’s invest in research and new ideas that make fences unnecessary.
    Producer/AuthorJames Trevelyan
    URLhttps://www.afr.com/politics/federal/letters-simple-truth-behind-trump-s-evil-genius-20190724-p52adh
    PersonsJames Trevelyan

Keywords

  • productivity
  • engineering