2 July 2012
Time to market and productivity metrics can be a poisonous combination for an engineer. As a culture, we demand faster and better.
But data and observation suggests that working on the clock just isn't good for productivity or for innovation.
He traces the origins of clocked work back 100 years to Frederick Winslow Taylor.
"Although the original version of Taylorism proved too strict for much of modern society, the basic idea hasn't gone away. Today more than 58% of all wage and salary workers in the U.S. are paid at hourly rates. Hourly wages are increasingly common among the middle class and in upwardly mobile professions, including law, accounting, consulting and medicine."
But, Partnoy argues, this leads to stress and loss of productivity.
And its effect on innovation can be damaging too:
"The most important engines of economic growth run at a much slower pace than modern life. Innovation doesn't occur in a year or a quarter—and certainly not in an hour."
Here are some questions for you:
1. Does your company pay you by the hour, and, if so, do you find that system effective for innovation?
2. If you're a consulting engineer, do you bill by the hour or by flat rate? Which do you think is more effective for innovation?