Tuesday, May 15, 2012

3 ways to improve knowledge worker productivity




One of the simplest definitions of productivity can be found in Wikipedia:
"Productivity is a measure of the efficiency of production. Productivity is a ratio of production output to what is required to produce it (inputs). The measure of productivity is defined as a total output per one unit of a total input."
Knowledge worker productivity in the digital age is something completely different. We are still trying to figure out what it's about and how to fuel it. On the one hand, digital technologies allow us to interact with much more people and information across time and space. On the other hand, they make us more isolated and less able to use our natural communication tools such as voice and body language. They disconnect us from the physical places where we are. Yet it is the context (information in your surroundings, the situation we are in) that explains to us what we need to do, when, how and why.

The more dynamic, complex and uncertain our business environments become, the more people and information we need to be able to access and interact with. The more people and information need to be available to us, the more challenging it becomes to make them findable and easily accessible. The faster we need to produce results, the more challenging it becomes to handle the number of interactions. This is why we often find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Simply put, knowledge worker productivity in the digital age boils down to getting the right things done as fast a possible. To improve it we need to do three things:

1. Provide enough context so we know what goes on and what we need to do in any situation. 

Simply put; we have the information that tells us what to do, when, how and why. It is all about making the right decisions, about taking the right actions.

2. Ensure that we can access and find all the resources we need.

All the information, tools and people we need must be findable and accessible in any situation. Capture and use information from interactions to improve relevance.

3. Make it as easy as possible to interact with the resources.

We should spend as little time interacting with a resource that is needed to achieve the purpose of the interaction.

Context. Access. Relevance. Simplicity.