What do we ‘mean’ by productivity anyway?

The pandemic has brought about difficult times for many businesses in the UK. Currently, with the onset of a second wave, and the end of the Brexit transition period only 80 days away, the road to economic recovery looks arduous. Inevitably, the rate of job and firm destruction will increase but for those businesses that… Read more

Productivity in SMEs: A tale of the tortoise and the hare?

In recent years, we have heard much of the ‘frontier firms’ – those at the top end of the productivity scale, leaping further ahead of other firms – the hares and the tortoises, if you will. But our recent research, examining Companies House data for more than 17,000 firms across 12 sectors, suggests that small and… Read more

One size doesn’t fit all in terms of R&D and innovation

While some of us have been able to work at home during the Covid-19 crisis – and may have actually improved our productivity – this has not been the case for most of those involved in research and development (R&D). Lock-down has meant no access to laboratories or the specialist kit needed, so many R&D… Read more

Diversity and Entrepreneurial Activity – changing fortunes?

Official statistics for 2018 – the most recent data available– suggest that business starts in the UK totalled around 380,000; or, just over 1,000 a day. In reality, this is an estimated figure based on VAT and PAYE records. UK Finance’s data – using bank account numbers – suggests an even higher figure. Nevertheless, it… Read more

Growth and Diversity – an Opportunity?

The events of the last few months have reminded us all of the impact of economic growth – or the lack of it – on our everyday lives. Beyond the tragedy of COVID-19 in terms of the physical and mental health for individuals, families and communities directly impacted, we are all involved in the resulting… Read more

Diversity and Innovation – the new evidence

We have got used to recognising the role of innovation in generating growth and prosperity in all economies.  At first, society heaped praise on individuals who led technological change (for example, Trevithick, Armstrong or Brunel).  In the last 100 years, greater emphasis was given to larger firms and government policy to lead the “white heat… Read more

Could Covid-19 give SMEs strategic space to improve productivity?

For a long time, the UK has produced many firms that perform poorly yet manage to survive. Various descriptions of these firms have been used. In recent debates about productivity for example they have been referred to as ‘the long tail’ of underperforming businesses. Shortening the long tail has been identified as a policy priority… Read more

Can we afford to return to “busy-ness” as usual?

Lorry drivers on tight schedules. Pet owners demanding more from their vets. Sales and service staff working from home with little access to office support. Archaeologists staying in hotels as a way of life. Hospitality staff working longer than contracted hours to make ends meet. Short-term contracts restricting access to finance. Ex-Army personnel with PTSD… Read more

Bouncing back from the Covid-19 crisis: reflections on mental health and resilience

Bouncing back from the Covid-19 crisis: reflections on mental health and resilience Firms that survive adversity often have the abilities, characteristics and actions of their employees to thank. As many reflected during Mental Health Awareness Week last week, it is worth remembering that the current crisis will undoubtedly have impacted upon the mental health of… Read more