Unsurprisingly, the economy was one of the most hotly debated issues of this year's election campaign and party leaders were forced to address some particularly difficult questions about productivity. Recent GDP figures from the Office for National Statistics have been disappointing, giving rise to talk of a productivity crisis in the UK.
The first three months of 2015 saw the UK record its slowest rate of GDP growth since the fourth quarter of 2013, with output halving quarter on quarter. And in 2014 as a whole, labour productivity remained at roughly the same level as it was the previous year (which was slightly lower than in 2007, pre-financial crisis). The subject has moved firmly back into the spotlight because the most recent GDP estimate was weaker than most economists expected - and there are many different ideas about the best way to arrest the slump.
It looks like solving this productivity puzzle could be one of the main priorities for the new government's economic policy. But what strategy will it adopt?
Kahootz recently attended UC Expo 2015 in London, where the opening day's keynote address was given by Marianne Calder of Cisco. Her speech contained some fascinating ideas about productivity, leadership and management. Time will tell if these ideas can be applied successfully within UK organisations, but it seems certain that technology holds the key to solving many of the biggest challenges facing enterprises - including productivity.
Group productivity comes first
Calder emphasised the need for business leaders to shift their focus from individual productivity to group productivity. She believes that agile organisations - those that truly lead the way by reinventing established working practices - recognise the fact that individual productivity "has been pushed to its limits".
In comments reported by Engineering and Technology magazine, she added: "The only way CEOs can deliver on their primary objective of enhancing productivity is through reinvented models of teamwork." Calder's vision of a successful, highly productive organisation is one that largely removes hierarchical structures and a focus on separate, specialist teams in favour of an interdependent network of people.
However, she was also careful to point out that collaboration alone is not enough, and there can be drawbacks when employees are permitted to select their own productivity tools and applications. Without a strong, overarching strategy for collaboration, companies are likely to see "collaboration siloes" develop - and the problem of exhausted individual productivity remains.
So the solution to the productivity puzzle is collaboration, but collaboration of a particular kind: strategic, accessible and suitable for the entire enterprise (and beyond if necessary). At Kahootz, we’ve spent years developing a cloud collaboration tool equipped to support the agile organisation and the new kind of teamwork it embodies.
It's our belief that cloud collaboration software can enable the new models of team productivity described by Calder - and without the need for large upfront investment or a protracted implementation phase. You can experience the benefits of being in Kahootz yourself by taking a free 30-day trial.