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Position Statement

The leverage point for productivity improvement is to release the creative potential inherent in people. The first step is to change the context of the word “productivity.” The Mass Production Business Model sees “productivity improvement” as a linear measure of success. This is deeply imbedded in the ‘muscle memory’ of the Mass Production organization. Productivity must be re-contextualized to reflect the “purpose” of the organization, not simply a measure. This step requires that we see the ‘factory’ from the customer back. Productivity is more than achieving “economies of scale.” Productivity in the Global market requires that the economics of scale, scope, and speed be blended together to achieve a “Purpose” rather than to optimize a measure.

A purpose-driven system is built on “alignment” and “wholeness” rather than individual contribution. The synergy of a “whole” system can only be achieved when we see people as people - with creative talent, rather than as things or “human resources.” The second step is to see the future as something to be created rather that something to be “solved” into existence. The productivity improvement of a problem solving mechanism is linear and incremental at best.

The productivity change enabled and driven by the “creating” mechanism is exponential and innovative. Creative people engaged in “creating” will change the way the world lives and works. It is important not to explain this approach to change in terms of attributes, leadership habits, human value, or other ethnic behavioral patterns. Creating as a process is independent of ethnic origin, and creativity is inherent to all people. The leverage point for massive productivity improvement is the freedom to create.

The third step is to “simulate” what’s possible in the new context of Mass Customization. Metaphorical analysis and benchmarking will not reveal the potential.

Finally, technology can be added to facilitate and enable the creativity. Mass Production thinking is like a star - “burned out and still shining” in many places. It is not wrong to think this way. It is however “technologically obsolete.” To believe that productivity can be improved by finding a “solution to the problem” is an illusion. The future must be “created” by “creative” people.


Influential Readings:

  • Hock, Dee, Birth of the Chaordic Age, Berrett Kohler
  • Quinn, Robert E. Change the World, Jossey Bass
  • Philip Evans, Philip and Thomas S. Wurster, Blown to Bits, HBS Press
  • Schrage, Michael, Serious Play, HBS Press
  • Leadership and Self Deception, The Arbinger Institute, Berrett Kohler
  • Pine, Joseph and James H. Gilmore, The Experience Economy, HBS Press
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