Productivity events to ‘unlock’ prosperity for Scotland

Published: 27 November 2023

To help boost Scottish productivity and prosperity, the University of Glasgow has joined forces with the Scottish Productivity Forum and Productivity Club Scotland to deliver a programme of research and practical action.

To help boost Scottish productivity and prosperity, the University of Glasgow has joined forces with the Scottish Productivity Forum and Productivity Club Scotland to deliver a programme of research and practical action.

As part of National Productivity Week, the University will host three days of events from 29 November to 1 December to share new thinking about productivity, ways it can be measured and how to cultivate inclusive, sustainable growth. This work is part of the £32m ESRC-funded Productivity Institute (PI).

Improving productivity in the UK’s largest cities is critical to improving productivity and prosperity. There’s a direct link between improved productivity and higher wages and household incomes; stronger businesses; better public services; and a higher standard of living

The University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School and School of Social and Political Sciences is a partner in the Productivity Institute, headquartered at Alliance Manchester Business School. Economic and business specialists, together with leading experts from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, are working directly with policymakers and business to better understand, measure and enable improvements in productivity across the UK.

The Scottish Productivity Forum is one of eight forums UK-wide working as part of the PI to unlock Scotland’s productivity puzzle, address regional issues of productivity to increase living standards, and build a stronger more resilient economy with sustainable growth. It includes representatives from the area’s key sectors including technology as well as from the public sector and academia.

To improve productivity and prosperity in Scotland, the work is focusing on people, the environment and finance. It looks at the challenges of productivity in a Scottish context driven by the values of prosperity for all.

AS part of this, the UofG has partnered with The Crichton Trust to focus on community-driven innovations that can support productivity in the rural economy, rural healthcare, and skills development. These aspects feed into community wellbeing at work, in neighbourhoods and homes. One example is the Robotics in Care collaboration between Crichton Trust, and UofG’s Social Sciences and Engineering Sciences. The project sought to support productivity in rural healthcare by considering how robots could support busy healthcare workers by undertaking basic support functions, leaving healthcare workers to focus on patient care.

Professor David Flynn, an expert in Cyber Physical Systems and Cyber Physical Infrastructure (CPS/CPI), is exploring the role of enabling CPS/CPI in the modernisation of our critical energy networks and services. This work explores how existing and emergent business models can support local productivity and prosperity, whilst adapting to the challenges of supporting our ambitions to decarbonise our society and economy.

Other projects currently underway include the first crowdfunding platform project solely for women in business; developing purpose in business and how purpose can enhance productivity; improving opportunities for people to enter education and work; and identifing the key reasons for Scotland’s below average productivity and recommendations on how it could be improved.

Scotland Productivity Forum Co-Lead, Professor Bridgette Wessels said: "In today’s society, we are seeing a range of new issues in fostering sustainable productivity. Our context is that of climate change and the need to protect our environment, the development of a digital economy underpinning industries from manufacturing to finance, new skills and education requirements for work, and the need to foster a diverse workforce and jobs that are meaningful and rewarding for employees. We are nurturing new ideas, innovations and practices in productivity that align with contemporary values and ideas as well as with yielding financial, social and environmental good across the population and where they live."

Professor Graeme Roy, Dean of External Engagement and Deputy Head of the College of Social Sciences at UofG, said: "Boosting Scotland’s productivity performance is key to improving economic prosperity and supporting the high value jobs and public services that we depend upon. Nowadays, there is greater appreciation that our efforts to deliver that productivity growth should not just be about improving narrow economic outcomes but broader environmental and social outcomes too. The week of activities at the University of Glasgow will showcase the practical steps and cutting-edge research that is helping to deliver real change to Scotland’s productivity performance."

National Productivity Week is part of the ESRC funded Productivity Institute’s work to get business leaders and policymakers talking about the one thing that the UK's future prosperity depends on - productivity.

First published: 27 November 2023