Rahaf Harfoush is a strategist, digital anthropologist and author who focuses on the intersections of emerging technology, innovation and digital culture. She is the Executive Director of the Red Thread Institute of Digital Culture, a think-tank and consultancy that focuses on helping organizations translate innovation trends into strategic opportunities.
Harfoush believes that society's obsession with productivity -- to-do lists, life hacks, morning routines -- is making us less productive, and explains why we need to redesign our workday around creativity, not just efficiency. The notion of productivity dates back to the industrial revolution, where productivity was an efficient measure of performance based on consistent output. Workers clocked in and out, and each employee was responsible for creating X number of products, for example. This method was a clear way to see who was working hard and effectively, and who was not. This allowed bosses to clearly see who was productive, through a tangible process.
However, as are now living in a knowledge economy, says Harfoush, the traditional way of measuring productivity is no longer as efficient as many of today's tasks have become a lot more intangible and abstract, such as problem solving, strategy development as well as researching and writing. Within this newer economy, productivity's ball game has massively shifted. Strictly having a clock in and out system, measuring the output doesn't do justice to the type of work in today's digital economy. However, as there is not a 'new' definitive way to measure employee productivity, many organisations have adapted the old way of measuring as they deemed it was tried and tested. This brings with it the dreaded time sheet methodology, clocking in and out, and having to justifying why projects take X amount of time, however, in reality, this is not conductive to real productivity.
Check out Harfoush's talk on Ted below.
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