Policies and Research to Solve the UK's Productivity Puzzle

Through the Industrial Strategy and with thanks to initiatives such as Be the Business and the Productivity Insights Network, productivity has rightly become a key theme in policy making and research at local and national levels. An important part of addressing the productivity challenge in the UK should involve effectively engaging, inspiring and assisting large numbers of small businesses. This Viewpoint identifies a number of key principles that should be adopted in designing approaches to working with businesses to improve their productivity.

Our paper draws on existing research on this subject, including some undertaken by SQW, and from the experience that our sister organisation, Oxford Innovation, has of front line delivery of improvement programmes to SMEs. It therefore considers the multi-faceted issue of 'productivity' by reference to the factors of firm behaviour, management practice, skills, innovation and place, drawing insight from the academic and research fields as well as the experience of practitioners in the field of business support.

The paper also identifies areas of research that would help to improve the evidence so as to inform more effective interventions in the future. We very much hope that this paper will make a valuable contribution to the evolution of plans and initiatives in this important area of policy.

Download Viewpoint: Policies and Research to Solve the UK's Productivity Puzzle