36 episodes

Join Bart van Ark, Professor of Productivity Studies at the University of Manchester, and the managing director of The Productivity Institute as he brings you discussions with leading minds from the UK and abroad about how to improve productivity for almost everything: from health care to car manufacturing, at national and regional levels, for business and for your own personal productivity.


This podcast series investigates why UK productivity is lower than in many other countries and why are there such large differences in productivity across and within the regions and devolved nations. We’ll also get the best insights from research on smart policies and effective business practices to increase productivity and find out how this will drive prosperity, wellbeing and inclusive sustainable growth.


Productivity Puzzles is brought to you by The Productivity Institute, a research project involving nine academic institutions across the UK, eight regional productivity forums throughout the nation, and a national independent Productivity Commission to advise policymakers at all levels of government. 


Find out more about at www.productivity.ac.uk


The Productivity Institute is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Productivity Puzzles Cue Podcasts

    • Government
    • 5.0 • 16 Ratings

Join Bart van Ark, Professor of Productivity Studies at the University of Manchester, and the managing director of The Productivity Institute as he brings you discussions with leading minds from the UK and abroad about how to improve productivity for almost everything: from health care to car manufacturing, at national and regional levels, for business and for your own personal productivity.


This podcast series investigates why UK productivity is lower than in many other countries and why are there such large differences in productivity across and within the regions and devolved nations. We’ll also get the best insights from research on smart policies and effective business practices to increase productivity and find out how this will drive prosperity, wellbeing and inclusive sustainable growth.


Productivity Puzzles is brought to you by The Productivity Institute, a research project involving nine academic institutions across the UK, eight regional productivity forums throughout the nation, and a national independent Productivity Commission to advise policymakers at all levels of government. 


Find out more about at www.productivity.ac.uk


The Productivity Institute is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

    How do business leaders think about productivity?

    How do business leaders think about productivity?

    Why should firms care about productivity? How does it add to the bottom line? What exactly drives productivity? And how can you get better at it? This episode is a conversation with three current and former business leaders talking about how they think about productivity, what it means to them, and what practical productivity measures their firms use.






    Host Professor Bart van Ark is joined by:






    Katy Davies, Managing Director of Evolve Your Future.Lou Cordwell, Special Advisor to the Office of the President and Vice-Chancellor at The University of Manchester and Professor of Innovation at the Alliance Manchester Business School.Greg McDonald, Founder and Executive Chair of Goodfish.





    For more information on the topic:


    The Productivity Institute, (2024) Productivity Primer: Why productivity matters for the economy, business and places.Kate Penney and Jim Pendrill (2022) Strategic Productivity for the Leadership Team, The Productivity Institute.The Productivity Institute, Business Dynamism: is turbulence good for productivity?, Productivity Puzzles Podcast, March 2024.The Productivity Institute, Government policy and business productivity: does it help or harm?, Productivity Puzzles Podcast, April 2024The Productivity Institute, Should we be worried about business dynamism?, blog.The Productivity Institute, Government policy and business productivity: does it help or harm?, blog.





    About Productivity Puzzles:


    Productivity Puzzles is brought to you by The Productivity Institute, a research body involving nine academic institutions across the UK, eight Regional Productivity Forums throughout the nation, and a national independent Productivity Commission to advise policy makers at all levels of government. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. 

    • 53 min
    Government policy and business productivity: does it help or harm?

    Government policy and business productivity: does it help or harm?

    What is the best thing government can do to help improve business productivity? Provide more business support? Create better conditions for doing business? Or simply, get out of the way. In other words, can government policy and business growth ever become a happy marriage?


    Host Professor Bart van Ark is joined by a co-host:


    Stephen Roper, Professor of Enterprise at Warwick Business School, founding Director of the Enterprise Research Centre, Co-Director of the Innovation Research Caucus, and Research Programme Lead on “Firms in Transitions” at The Productivity Institute.

    Bart and Rebecca are joined by two guest speakers:


    Jane Galsworthy, Managing Director of Oxford Innovation Advice and Steering Group Chair at the Enterprise Research Centre.Tera Allas, Director of Research and Economics at McKinsey & Company, UK, and Chair of the Advisory Committee at The Productivity Institute.

    For more information on the topic:


    The Productivity Institute (2023), The Productivity Agenda.The Productivity Institute, Business Dynamism: is turbulence good for productivity?, Productivity Puzzles Podcast, March 2024The Productivity Institute, Should we be worried about business dynamism?, blog.Enterprise Research Centre (2024) The State of Small Business Britain 2023.

    About Productivity Puzzles:


    Productivity Puzzles is brought to you by The Productivity Institute, a research body involving nine academic institutions across the UK, eight Regional Productivity Forums throughout the nation, and a national independent Productivity Commission to advise policy makers at all levels of government. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. 

    • 59 min
    Business Dynamism: is turbulence good for productivity?

    Business Dynamism: is turbulence good for productivity?

    What is business dynamism? Do we need a bit more turbulence in business creation, growth and change to get productivity up again? This episode, the first of three on the productivity of firms, looks at the mechanism between productivity and business dynamism, whether there are big differences between countries, and whether and how we can get a bit more turbulence.


    Host Professor Bart van Ark is joined by a co-host:


    Rebecca Riley, Professor of Practice at King’s College London; Director of the Economics Statistics Centre of Excellence; Lead on Measurement and Methods theme at The Productivity Institute

    Bart and Rebecca are joined by two guest speakers:


    John Van Reenen, Ronald Coase Chair in Economics at the London School of Economics Professor, where was also the Director of Centre for Economic Performance. Currently John is Director of the Programme on Innovation and Diffusion (POID)Javier Miranda, Professor of Economics, Productivity Research at Friedrich-Schiller University (Jena), and Head of Center for Factor Market Transformation and Productivity Growth at the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). Co-director of The Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet)

    For more information on the topic:


    Jan De Loecker, Tim Obermeier and John Van Reenen (2022), Firms and Inequalities, The IFS Deaton Review.Filippo Biond, Sergio Inferrera, Matthias Mertens and Javier Miranda (2024), Declining Business Dynamism in Europe: The Role of Shocks, Market Power, and Technology.Office of National Statistics (2023), Trend in UK business dynamism and productivity, December 2023.The Productivity Institute (2023), The Productivity Agenda, Chapters 1 and 3.

    About Productivity Puzzles:


    Productivity Puzzles is brought to you by The Productivity Institute, a research body involving nine academic institutions across the UK, eight Regional Productivity Forums throughout the nation, and a national independent Productivity Commission to advise policy makers at all levels of government. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

    • 53 min
    Wrapping up Productivity Puzzles 2023: brief interviews with productivity experts

    Wrapping up Productivity Puzzles 2023: brief interviews with productivity experts

    The final episode of Productivity Puzzles Season 2 examines whether 2023 has brought us closer to putting the productivity puzzle together. What are some of the most important insights from this season of the podcast? And what can we learn from The Productivity Institute's Productivity Agenda? The conversation covers the challenges in institutional decision-making, the diffusion of technology and skills, and diversity in firm performance, investment and the adoption of good practices, as well as possible pro-productivity policies for the future.






    Host Professor Bart van Ark is joined by:






    Diane Coyle - Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge.Adrian Pabst - Deputy Director at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.Mary O’Mahony - Professor of Economics at King's College Business School in London.Stephen Roper - Professor of Enterprise at Warwick Business School and Director of the Enterprise Research Centre.





    For more information on the topic:






    Diane Coyle, Bart van Ark, Jim Pendrill (2023), The Productivity Agenda, The Productivity Institute.HM Government (2022), Levelling Up the UK.National Institute of Economic and Social Research (2023), National Institute UK Economic Outlook: Summer 2023.Diane Coyle , Kaya Dreesbeimdieck , Annabel Manley (2021), Productivity in UK healthcare during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, The Productivity Institute Working Paper No.002.Jen Nelles, Ben Verinder, Kevin Walsh, Tim Vorley (2023), Skills Innovation and Productivity: The Role of Further Education Colleges in Local and Regional Ecosystems, The Productivity Institute and Innovation Caucus.Diane Coyle, Stella Erker and Andy Westwood (2023), Townscapes: A Universal Basic Infrastructure for the UK, Bennett Institute for Public Policy.





    About Productivity Puzzles:


    Productivity Puzzles is brought to you by The Productivity Institute, a research body involving nine academic institutions across the UK, eight Regional Productivity Forums throughout the nation, and a national independent Productivity Commission to advise policy makers at all levels of government. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. 

    • 43 min
    Revisiting the UK productivity puzzle: national and regional perspectives

    Revisiting the UK productivity puzzle: national and regional perspectives

    Is the UK Productivity Puzzle anywhere closer to being solved? Where do we see progress? And what are the pieces of the jigsaw that still need to be found? This episode of Productivity Puzzles, released during National Productivity Week, examines the outlook for productivity growth and the best policies that will lead to better outcomes.






    Host Professor Bart van Ark is joined by:


    Ed Balls, Former Secretary of State and Shadow Chancellor; Professor of Political Economy at King’s College, London, a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.Andy Haldane, CEO of the Royal Society of Arts; Chair of Levelling Up Advisory Council.Rachel Wolf, Founding Partner at Public First; Former education and innovation adviser to the Prime Minister.





    For more information on the topic:






    Diane Coyle, Bart van Ark, and Jim Pendrill (eds) (2023), The Productivity Agenda, The Productivity Institute.Dan Turner, Nyasha Weinberg, Esme Elsden and Ed Balls (2023) Why Hasn’t UK Regional Policy Worked? The views of leading practitioners, M-RCBG Associate Working Paper Series | No. 216.Anna Stansbury, Dan Turner & Ed Balls (2023): Tackling the UK’s regional economic inequality: binding constraints and avenues for policy intervention, Contemporary Social Science.Andy Haldane (2017), Productivity Puzzles, Speech at the Bank of England.Andy Haldane (2018), The UK’s Productivity Problem: Hub No Spokes, Speech at the Bank of England.The Productivity Institute (2023), National Productivity Week: a collaborative effort to boost the UK’s productivity.Josh Martin and Nicola Pike (2022), National Productivity Year – 60 years on: reflections and lessons, The Productivity Institute.Xiaowei Xu (2023), The changing geography of jobs, Institute for Fiscal Studies.The Productivity Institute (2022), Levelling Up: insights from The Productivity Institute.





    About Productivity Puzzles:


    Productivity Puzzles is brought to you by The Productivity Institute, a research body involving nine academic institutions across the UK, eight Regional Productivity Forums throughout the nation, and a national independent Productivity Commission to advise policy makers at all levels of government. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. 

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Why does the UK do so well on the Global Innovation Index?

    Why does the UK do so well on the Global Innovation Index?

    How do we measure innovation and compare it across countries? And how can it be that the UK is doing so well as an innovation nation, while we seem to be underperforming on productivity?


    This episode of Productivity Puzzles takes a deep dive into the latest 2023 Global Innovation Index (GII) and its implications for the UK's productivity. The UK ranks fourth on the Global Innovation Index, showcasing strengths in R&D, scientific output, and intangible asset intensity. But why does that not translate into productivity gains?


    Host Professor Bart van Ark is joined by:


    Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, Head of Section, Economics and Statistics Division, and co-editor of The Global Innovation Index (GII) at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).





    Anna Valero, Deputy Director of Programme on Innovation and Diffusion (POID) and Distinguished Policy Fellow, Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics.

    For more information on the topic:


    WIPO, The Global Innovation Index 2023: Innovation in the face of uncertainty, September 2023.WIPO, United Kingdom ranking in the Global Innovation Index 2023, September 2023.WIPO, Science and Technology Cluster Ranking, September 2023.WIPO, Global Innovation Index 2022. What is the future of innovation-driven growth?, September 2022.Richard Jones (2022), Science and innovation policy for hard times: an overview of the UK’s Research and Development landscape, Productivity Insights Paper No. 014, The Productivity Institute.Paul Nightingale and James W. Phillips (2023), Is the UK a world leader in science?, Substack.The Economy 2023 Inquiry, Learning to grow: How to situate a skills strategy in an economic strategy, October 2023 by Rui Costa, Zhaolu Liu, Sandra McNally, Louise Murphy, Christopher Pissarides, Bertha Rohenkohl, Anna Valero and Guglielmo Ventura.The Economy 2023 Inquiry, Beyond Boosterism: Realigning the policy ecosystem to unleash private investment for sustainable growth 22 June 2023 by Paul Brandily, Mimosa Distefano, Krishan Shah, Gregory Thwaites, and Anna Valero.The Economy 2023 Inquiry, Growing clean: Identifying and investing in sustainable growth opportunities across the UK 23 May 2022 by Brendan Curran, Ralf Martin, Sabrina Muller, Viet Nguyen-Tien, Juliana Oliveira-Cunha, Esin Serin, Arjun Shah, Anna Valero, and Dennis Verhoeven.The Economy 2023 Inquiry, Enduring strengths: Analysing the UK’s current and potential economic strengths, and what they mean for its economic strategy, at the start of the decisive decade April 2022 by Josh De Lyon, Ralf Martin, Juliana Oliveira-Cunha, Arjun Shah, Krishan Shah, Gregory Thwaites & Anna Valero.





    About Productivity Puzzles:


    Productivity Puzzles is brought to you by The Productivity Institute, a research body involving nine academic institutions across the UK, eight Regional Productivity Forums throughout the nation, and a national independent Productivity Commission to advise policy makers at all levels of government. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

    • 54 min

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