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Productivity is the way forward for Irish economy

By any standard the performance of the Irish economy has been remarkable in the last fifteen years.

It has been built on enterprise, sound government policy and the talent of our workforce.

Most significantly this era has been the one in which we finally solved the problem that has proved so elusive since independence -- that of securing full employment.

We have built a strong and resilient economy capable of retaining those born here and attracting many from abroad who see Ireland as providing opportunities.

Our output growth has been achieved through doubling the number of people at work.

However, over the next decade we will have to look towards increases in productivity from existing resources in order to continue to grow.

Throughout its history the Irish Management Institute (IMI) has provided thought leadership in an emerging economy. During the 1960s and 1970s we were instrumental in helping Irish firms to adjust to free trade. In 1974 Irish business combined with government to build, without debt, the IMI campus.

Our partnership with Microsoft on the National Productivity Centre is an important intervention to help Irish businesses and the public service by showcasing the potential of technology and management practice and guiding people forward on the challenges they face.

Our initiative in developing the National Productivity Centre in partnership with Microsoft seeks to provide both the thought leadership and practical assistance for organisations seeking to be part of the next wave of Irish growth.

The latest research has shown that a combination of ICT adoption and improvements in management practice can increase output with existing resources. The London School of Economics/McKinsey research indicates that a four point improvement in management practice can deliver the type of output growth that was achieved in the past from a doubling of the number of people at work.

This means that Ireland could create the Celtic Tiger a second time but on the next occasion through a productivity wave, a Productivity Puma, if we want to keep up the cat analogies.

This challenge is not to be underestimated but it can be achieved. The IMI and Microsoft came together in a €2m investment to develop the NPC as we felt there was a need to give the productivity push a focus point.

That focus point is a state of the art hi-tech suite of rooms

We are inviting senior management teams in the public and private sector to come for free to the NPC and to see at first hand case studies from Ireland and abroad which show best practice in productivity.