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[VIDEO] The Future of Productivity

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 by Slaughter Development

A new six minute video clip predicts how we will work in the near future with incredible embedded technology. Although the visuals are impressive and futuristic, many of the improvements in the video are possible today.

Take a minute and watch the short film yourself. You may want to maximize your window to full screen (click the button in the bottom right corner) to see all the detail. (Direct YouTube link):

The film is filled with amazing examples of workplace productivity and employee efficiency. Most of these show off advanced technology concepts which may not even be possible, such as paper thin display screens and three dimensional interactive displays. The productivity techniques—such as the automatic language translation done in the opening sequence—make for a great marketing message. Once viewers are reminded of the sponsors of the clip, they’ll be sure to associate increased productivity and enhanced personal sanctification with Microsoft Office and General Motors.

Despite all of whiz-bang gadgetry, many of the “productivity enhancements” are actually entirely possible in today’s world. For example:

Appointment management - At about the one minute mark, a character receives an e-mail on her mobile device. Attached to the message is a proposal document. She responds with a brief reply: “Hi Qin, I’ll review it first thing tomorrow.”

The science fiction moment arrives in the next few seconds of video. Her mobile device recognizes the phrase “first thing tomorrow” and automatically creates a calendar appointment for the following day. Later in the clip, we see the same character thumbing through her agenda and  discovering this event.

While this sounds a little like having a personal assistant in the palm of your hand, it’s really a lesson in discipline. Any of us can receive e-mail messages, but how many of us take the time to reply to acknowledge receipt? Just letting the sender know we got the message is a huge productivity improvement. It establishes a commitment in our mind and gives the other person a sense of relief.

Likewise, how many of us have the discipline to actually reserve time on our calendar to complete individual tasks? Once again, the value is not in the automatic reservation system, but in actually setting aside time by penciling in an hour to review a document.

There several more examples of simple productivity tips in the same video:

Clear and concise wording - At about the 1:30 mark, another character receives a different message. You may have to pause the video to see the text, but the scripting is really clear. The subject is “Question”, a subtitle below it says “Oliver Project” and the entire message reads “Here’s my latest visualization, does this work?”

Once again, this technique for improving productivity is really about discipline. We so often see e-mail messages whose subjects read “hey”, “i have a question for you…” or simply “help.” In this case, the sender has been exceptionally precise. The subject line reads “Question: Oliver Project.” Clearly this message is going to contain a question about the Oliver Project. The body of the message is a total of seven words, and is beautifully precise.

The rest of the video includes even more proof that employee productivity is as much about choices as it is about tools. A transcribed voicemail message reads: “Can you approve the order today?” When was the last time you received a voicemail that did not ramble on for several minutes? A slide presentation is edited using copy and paste, in the same manner that we do today with the mouse. Shouldn’t we be making simple modifications to documents as well?

Humanity will continue to improve productivity through new technologies. However, the greatest opportunity for increasing employee productivity is by adopting new perspectives on work. Poor choices on every day tasks rob of us our ability to get things done. Make smarter decisions about structuring time, using tools and selecting language. And if in need of help, contact Slaughter Development. We’d love to help you learn to function at the speed of the future.


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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

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Productivity and Rewards - In this tough economy, many companies are looking at other ways to reward employees besides the traditional raise. A new article makes ten distinct suggestions, but will these increase productivity or just damage morale further?
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Why Increased Productivity is Unpopular - People often think that the productivity consulting business should be in high demand. But there’s a terrible secret: increased productivity requires change, and people hate change.
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Want to learn more? Register now for the 2011 Productivity Series

One Response to “[VIDEO] The Future of Productivity”

  1. Bryan Hart Says:

    I saw this video just a few days ago and had similar thoughts. Even most of the Tech is very doable today. But I didn’t even notice how the clear and concise messages were part of the futuristic feel. Good Question: Why not now?

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