For 250 years, consistent improvements in productivity have created an engine for economic growth, greater prosperity and better standards of living. Since the Global Financial Crisis, that two-and-a-half century winning streak has stalled: productivity has flat-lined.

Productivity – how to generate it and sustain it – constitutes one of the most complex and serious challenges facing contemporary economies. It is also the focus of LRI Roundtable No. 2, to be held on 8 November 2019 at Queen’s University Belfast. Our discussion will focus on understanding the factors that drove such a dramatic take-off in productivity, how it was sustained over such a long period of time, and how and why in recent years growth has slowed.

Productivity constitutes a serious challenge both for enterprise and for public policy – inside firms and across the national and international economies. For businesses, productivity is a driver of profits and a catalyst of scale and growth within businesses. The lack of strategic focus on productivity improvement holds back many companies: repeated failure to invest, or to deploy technology are two of the most serious problems. Yet, the challenge is not only about investment and technology deployment: commentators also point to the need to develop managerial culture and practices as equally important in delivering productivity improvements. How can business leaders ensure that their managers are suitably equipped for this task?

For policymakers, a different but complementary set of considerations are at play. A broad range of policy factors relating to investment, innovation, technology, enterprise, and skills are linked to productivity growth. How can policymakers stimulate innovation ecosystems, whilst enabling businesses to leverage subsequent breakthroughs?

This is the grand challenge that we will be addressing in this LRI Roundtable event. The event offers the opportunity to consider what business leaders and policymakers can do to address the challenge of low productivity and discuss related issues such as the future of work and the role of business schools and universities in driving innovation and improvements in management education that positively affect productivity.

Event details:

8th November 2019

2pm – 4pm

Riddel Hall

Queen’s University Belfast

Keynote speaker: Andy Haldane (Chief Economist, Bank of England)

Chair of roundtable: Kevin Lynch (former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet of the Canadian government)

Participants: Nick Crafts (University of Warwick), Andy Haldane (Bank of England), Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge), Angela McGowan (CBI), and David Paulson (Queen’s University Belfast)

For further details of the event and to confirm attendance please contact Michael Aldous,