Efficiency -> Productivity -> Creativity

T Ashok @ash_thiru  on Twitter

Summary

Efficiency is a given now , high productivity aided by intelligent systems will become a norm, so what is our role?  In this age of automated & continuous testing, efficiency gains are given and productivity is on the increase. In this era of AI systems, it is time we shift from productivity to creativity. 


Over the years there has been an interesting shift in how we engineer software. Starting with emphasis on process systems in the 90s to ensure consistency and repeatability, we moved on to enhancing efficiencies with tools and Agile processes. Now the focus has shifted to productivity and value by fostering re-use(components, libraries, patterns, frameworks etc), cross-functional teams and more recently, using AI systems.

Efficiency is a given now, high productivity aided by intelligent systems will become a norm, so what is our role? The future is about creativity, a lot of people say. 

In testing with extreme focus on automated & continuous testing, efficiency gains are given and productivity is on the increase. With systems built using multiple frameworks, deployed in various environments, with high business criticality, high expectations of users, the demand of future demands tech savviness and serious creativity – ‘SmartQA , that implies how to get work done efficiently with value focus driven from creative angle’. 

Here is a short summary from two interesting articles on the Efficiency -> Productivity -> Creativity shift.

Focus on productivity, not efficiency

In the article Focus on productivity, not efficiency   Aytekin Tank says Ford reduced the manufacturing time of car from 12 hours to 2.5 hours by improving efficiency, breaking the company’s Model T automobile assembly into 84 distinct steps, with a worker specialising in a task and using power-driven machinery to do the work.

The tide changed in 2015 from being focused on productivity over efficiency. Efficiency is about doing more with less whereas productivity is about doing more with the same.

He then shares four tips on how to lead an organisation with productivity:

1. Team productivity > individual efficiency – Cross-functional teams work on one project at a time.
2. Get out of the way – Stop interrupting  the workflow of team members with meetings that don’t necessarily require their presence.
3. Maximize your MVPs – Do not box talented individuals placed in organizational roles that limit their effectiveness.
4. Lose the “more is better” mentality – Focus on impact not staying busy

Creativity is the new productivity

In the age of A.I and machine learning, just being more productive won’t cut it. The future belongs to the creatives says Scott Belsky in the article Creativity Is the New Productivity.

In his picture of Human Productivity Parabola , he says we have now passed the point — call it the “Productivity-Creativity Inversion” — where machines (algorithms, robots, etc.) have become a better investment for future productivity gains than humans. At this point, we as humans are better off spending our energy on creativity than on productivity.

From Creativity Is the New Productivity
https://marker.medium.com/creativity-is-the-new-productivity-d287d6ad7533

Productivity, previously scarce and valuable, is now abundant and commoditized, and hence we need to creativity, a truly scarce resource whose value is on the rise, he says. He depicts this as a picture consisting of three phases – The Era of Productivity Scarcity, The Era of Productivity Abundance, and The Era of Creativity.

From Creativity Is the New Productivity
https://marker.medium.com/creativity-is-the-new-productivity-d287d6ad7533

He continues on to state that AI will liberate creativity, by allowing machines to take over the mundane tasks, enabling us to be more creative.


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