Productivity & Innovation


Peter Drucker, who is widely acknowledged as the Father of modern business management, once said that increasing the productivity of workers in the knowledge society is “the most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century”. In order to stay competitive and relevant in the today’s global economy, many economies and organisations are moving up the value chain by increasing productivity and driving innovation.

This is a selection of resources on productivity and innovation available from the NLB catalogue or the Internet. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list.


Search Terms Call Number
Productivity 338
Competition 338.04
Personal productivity and innovation 650.1
Organisational efficiency 658.1
Organisational Innovation 658.4



Productivity involves the use of existing resources to achieve maximum results. In countries such as Singapore, where resources are limited, enhancing productivity has become the key to achieving economic growth. Thus, companies are increasingly encouraged to implement productivity-enhancing measures, including using automation and technology, improving supply chains and processes, and adopting standards.



  • Bal, P. M., Kooji, D. T. & Rosseau, D. M. (Eds.). (2015). Aging workers and the employee-employer relationship. Cham: Springer.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.3 AGI
    With many developed countries facing the situation of an aging workforce, more emphasis has been placed on the employment of older workers and their impact on productivity. This book looks at the aging workforce from the employer and organisational perspectives, focusing on how employers and companies can ensure that their aging workers remain motivated, productive and healthy.


  • European Factories of the Future Research Association. (2013). Factories of the future: Multi-annual roadmap for the contractual PPP under Horizon 2020. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
    Call no.: RBUS 670.427 FAC
    Factories of the Future is a multi-annual roadmap documenting how the European Union can increase productivity in its manufacturing sector and transition towards the factories of the future. It lists some of the key megatrends such as sustainability, research and innovation, and automation, and the potential impacts which this transition may bring the society.


  • International Labour Office. (2015). World employment and social outlook: The changing nature of jobs. Geneva: International Labour Office.
    Call no.: RBUS 331.12 WOR
    Compiled by the International Labour Office, an agency under the United Nations, World Employment and Social Outlook is a report which looks at the global change in employment patterns in the recent years. It examines the rise in flexible forms of employment such as part-time, casual and temporary employment, and how it can impact productivity, global supply chains, job creation and income inequality.


  • Ishikawa, A. & Saisho, T. (Eds.). (2013). Corporate strategy for dramatic productivity surge. Singapore: World Scientific.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.4012 COR
    This book is a guide on how companies can attain a surge in productivity by detailing how they can evaluate their processes, enhance their capabilities and increase the sensitivity and precision in their productions while reducing costs. It also includes case studies of companies which have succeeded in increasing their productivity.


  • Keller, S. & Price, C. (2011). Beyond performance: How great organizations build ultimate competitive advantage. New Jersey: Wiley.
    Call no.: RBUS 658 KEL
    Beyond Performance explores the topics of organisational effectiveness and change management, taking a closer look at how organisations can build a competitive advantage and become prosperous by constantly evolving and adapting in the face of global changes such as the push to raise productivity and the advancement of technology.


  • Leist, L. (2011). Eliminate the chaos at work: 25 techniques to increase productivity. New Jersey: Wiley.
    Call no.: RBUS 650.11 LEI
    In Eliminate the Chaos at Work, author Laura Leist categorises the common challenges in personal productivity and workplace organisation into four areas and introduces 25 time and information management techniques that can be used by readers to become more productive at work and more efficient in life.


  • Maietta, A. & Aliverti, P. (2015). The maker’s manual: A practical guide to the new industrial revolution. San Francisco: Maker Media.
    Call no.: RBUS 338.642 MAI
    New technology, such as 3D printing, can help improve productivity as they can make the manufacturing process more efficient and convenient. This book looks at some of the disruptive technology existing in today’s society, including 3D printing, electronics prototyping, and the Internet of Things, and explains how these technologies can be used to create items for a sustainable maker business.


  • Mehta, B. R. & Reddy, Y. J. (2015). Industrial process automation systems: Design and implementation. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
    Call no.: R 670.427 MEH
    The use of automation and robots are increasingly being seen as a way for companies to improve their productivity. In this book, the authors provide comprehensive information on how industrial process automation systems can be designed and implemented by companies, including concepts, applications, guidelines and case studies.


  • Pagés, C. (Ed.). (2010). The age of productivity: Transforming economies from the bottom up. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Call no.: RBUS 331.118098 AGE
    This book examines the issue of low productivity in the Latin American region and provides plausible explanations to why the countries in these region have yet to catch up to the developed world. Besides this, it also suggests ways to increase productivity with a bottom-up approach by tackling the disparity in companies’ productivity and ensuring a more efficient allocation of resources in the region.


  • Singapore Standards Council. (2014). Code of practice for energy efficient standard for building services and equipment. Singapore: SPRING Singapore.
    Call no.: RSING 333.796202185957 SIN
    Energy efficiency can enhance productivity in an organisation by reducing energy costs. This Singapore standard provides the requirements for the installation and replacement of energy efficient systems and equipment in buildings, as well as the replacement of their components.



  • Allcott, G. (2014). Introducing productivity: A practical guide. London: Icon Books Ltd. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.
    How can one become more organised and productive in this stressful world today? In Introducing Productivity, author Graham Allcott shares advice and tips on how individuals can manage their time effectively and accomplish their tasks efficiently, be it at work or in their personal lives.


  • Berman, P. K. (2014). Successful business process management: What you need to know to get results. New York: AMACOM. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.
    Standard operating procedures and processes are essential in the maintenance of quality and productivity in an organisation. This ebook looks at how such procedures and processes can be revised and improved systematically in an organisation in order to achieve buy-in from its employees and attain better productivity and efficiency.


  • Cooke, J. L. (2014). Agile productivity unleashed: Proven approaches for achieving real productivity gains in any organization. Cambridgeshire: IT Governance Publishing. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.
    Agile Productivity Unleashed examines how the management principles of Agile can be used to help organisations gain greater efficiency and increase their productivity. The ebook not only provides explanations to each of the 12 Agile principles mentioned in the pages, but also details how they can be applied to solve the common challenges faced by all organisations.


  • Eden, J. & Long, T. (2014). Low-hanging fruit: 77 eye-opening ways to improve productivity and profits. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.
    This ebook looks at how companies can better manage their internal processes and resources to become more productive and profitable. It provides 77 simple and effective strategies which management leaders can use to review and remove unnecessary complexities in their processes, and efficiently utilise their resources.


  • Fiksel, J. (2015). Resilient by design: Creating businesses that adapt and flourish in a changing world. Washington, D. C.: Island Press. Retrieved from OverDrive.
    In the fast-changing world today, businesses face many challenges, including disruption, climate change, and the need to increase productivity. Resilient by Design is a useful guide on how businesses can cope with changes, weather adverse situations and move forward by building resilience in their processes and recognising new business opportunities.


  • Gans, J. (2017). The disruption dilemma. Cambridge: MIT Press. Retrieved from OverDrive.
    The Disruption Dilemma focuses on the phenomenon of disruption in business, looking at how some companies like Fujifilm have successfully navigated disruption to become more productive and profitable, while others like Kodak have failed to adapt and survive in the market. Besides this, it also provides strategies which companies can use to deal with various types of disruption.


  • Marr, B. (2016). Big data in practice: How 45 successful companies used big data analytics to deliver extraordinary results. West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. Retrieved from OverDrive.
    Big Data in Practice explains how major companies analyse big data effectively to understand their customers’ needs and gain insights on how they can improve manufacturing, safety and productivity. For each case study, the ebook details how a specific company had used certain data to solve their problems and put in place practical processes.


  • Myles, T. (2014). The secret to peak productivity: A simple guide to reaching your personal best. New York: AMACOM. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.
    In The Secret to Peak Productivity, author Tamara Myles introduces a framework, known as the Productivity Pyramid, that readers can use to achieve their peak productivity. The framework is arranged sequentially in five levels to allow individuals to start by assessing their strengths and weaknesses, relooking at personal organisation, planning of goals, to eventually reaching their potential.



  • Council for Skills, Innovation and productivity. (2016, May 6). Productivity toolkits. Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Way to Go Singapore website:    
    The Way to Go website is powered by SPRING Singapore to encourage various industries in Singapore to take up productivity-enhancing measures. Besides recommending productivity ideas that can be customised based on industry and ease of execution, it also provides 24 toolkits for businesses to adopt and improve their productivity.


  • Faris Mokhtar. (2017, January 6). Automation helps manufacturing firm to improve productivity by 10 per cent. Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Today website:   
    This article, published by Today newspaper, looks at how automation can help manufacturing firms enhance productivity through the case study of Feinmetall Singapore, a local manufacturing company which introduced automation in its processes to circumvent the challenge of hiring skilled workers and successfully achieved the effective utilisation of manpower and increased productivity.


  • Furceri, D. et al. (2017, April 3). Gone with the headwinds: Global productivity. Retrieved June 27, 2017 from International Monetary Fund website:
    This report, compiled by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), examines the decrease in global productivity growth over the past years and the major global factors which led to this decrease, including the global financial crisis, information and communications technology (ICT), and population aging. It also provides a list of short-term and long-term remedies to reinvigorate productivity growth.


  • Mankins, M. (2017, March 1). Great companies obsess over productivity, not efficiency. Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Harvard Business Review website: 
    What is the difference between organisational efficiency and productivity? This article dispels the misconception that efficiency and productivity are synonymous, explaining the differences between the two and their impacts on organisational performance. It also proposes that large companies should shift their focus from efficiency to productivity in order to achieve superior performance.


  • Roubini, N. (2016, June 22). Why hasn’t innovation led to productivity growth? Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Today website:
    The phenomenon of “productivity puzzle” is explored in this article, which attempts to analyse and explain why productivity growth in advanced economies such as the United States, Europe and Japan has been sluggish despite the occurrences of breakthrough innovations including manufacturing, energy and information technologies.



  • Vozza, S. (2015, December 10). 15 habits that will totally transform your productivity. Retrieved June 27, 2017 from FastCompany website:  
    In this article, the author lists 15 habits which individuals can pick up to change their behaviours and make their daily life more productive. These strategies cover various aspects including time management, spatial organisation, setting priorities, keeping fit and healthy, and having fruitful discussions.



Innovation is the process of introducing new ideas, methods or products; it can also comprise changes to existing ways of how things are made or done. With an aging workforce and dwindling resources in today’s economy, innovation is often seen as one of the key drivers of productivity growth for economies and businesses.



  • Burger-Helmchen, T. (Ed.). (2013). The economics of creativity: Ideas, firms and markets. New York: Routledge.
    Call no.: RBUS 338.064 ECO
    Innovation is seen as the key to attain economic growth and productivity in today’s world. This book explores various themes related to the economics of creativity, including the generation and fostering of creative ideas in organisations, and the transformation of such ideas into new or improved products and services.


  • Cagan, J. & Vogel, C. M. (2013). Creating breakthrough products: Revealing the secrets that drive global innovation. New Jersey: FT Press.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.575 CAG
    This book gives an overview of how companies can develop products and services that can redefine current markets or even create new ones. It looks at two approaches to innovation- revolutionary and evolutionary- and provides strategies and tools which can help companies identify opportunity gaps, discover what customers want, and manage the product development process. Besides this, it also includes case studies of companies which have succeeded in innovating and reinventing themselves.


  • De Beule, F. & Nauwelaerts, Y. (Eds.). (2013). Innovation and creativity: Pillars of the future global economy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.4063 INN
    Innovation and Creativity explores the importance of innovation and creativity in building competitiveness in the future global economy. Through the perspectives of various contributors, it studies the management of innovation and creativity in European countries as well as multinational companies to find out how organisations can innovate efficiently and effectively.


  • Dodgson, M., Gann, D. M. & Phillips, N. (Eds.). (2015). The Oxford handbook of innovation management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.406 OXF
    In The Oxford Handbook of Innovation, 49 leading academics provide their perspectives on the importance of innovation for economic and business competitiveness and for the quality and standard of living around the world. They also offer their insights on how innovation can be managed in terms of managing research and development, innovation in business models, and open and social innovation.


  • Gailly, B. (2011). Developing innovative organisations: A roadmap to boost your innovation potential. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.4063 GAI
    This book takes a look at what innovation is, why it is essential, and how it can be implemented and managed to bring benefits to the organisations. It features a roadmap which can be used to identify and develop the capabilities which are needed for the effective management of innovation and case studies of how international companies have successfully developed innovative environments.


  • McLaughlin, G. C. & Kennedy, W. R. (2016). Innovation project management handbook. Florida: CRC Press.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.404 MAC
    Innovation Project Management Handbook is a detailed guide on how organisations can improve their innovation opportunity outcomes to successfully manage an innovation project. It provides a methodology, known as N2OVATE, which can help organisations to make better decisions when faced with innovation opportunities, and also other useful tools and strategies to manage each type of innovation.


  • Taylor, M. Z. (2016). The politics of innovation: Why some countries are better than others at science and technology. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Call no.: RBUS 338.926 TAY
    Why are some countries more successful in innovating compared to others? The Politics of Innovation explores whether the rate of innovation in a country is dependent on factors such as national policies and domestic institutions, arguing that the real driver of innovation behind the leaders of science and technology is actually politics.


  • Thaktor, A. V. (Ed.). (2013). Innovation and growth: What do we know? Singapore: World Scientific.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.4012 INN
    Innovation and Growth takes a look at the topic of innovation from the academic and management perspectives, covering key concepts and best practices such as the management of innovation and new product development; creation of an innovative environment for business; and the organisational and financial aspects of innovation.


  • Tidd, J. & Bessant, J. (2013). Managing innovation: Integrating technological, market and organisational change. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.514 TID
    Managing Innovation details the management of innovation at the operational and strategic levels, focusing on the integration and management of technological, market and organisational changes to enhance the competitiveness and effectiveness of organisations in today’s knowledge economy.


  • Wasen, K. (2015). Innovation management in robot society. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.4063 WAS
    The advent of advanced robotics has enabled robots to be used in heavy, repetitive and dangerous work. This book examines the increasing use of robots in various industries such as healthcare and agriculture, focusing on the organisational change and management aspects. It also concludes with a chapter which discusses the implications which robots may bring to innovative workers.



  • Cross, S. (2016). First and fast: Outpace your competitors, lead your markets, and accelerate growth. New York: Business Expert Press. Retrieved from OverDrive.
    First and Fast is a comprehensive guide on how leaders can grow their businesses by getting ahead of competitors and leading the market. It provides a set of tools and case studies that can be used by companies to adapt to situations and turbulence in the fast-changing world and innovate to find new markets.


  • Eggers, W. D. (2016). Delivering on digital: The innovators and technologies that are transforming government. New York: RosettaBooks. Retrieved from OverDrive.
    In this book, the author discusses how governments can become more modernised and efficient by adopting innovative practices and digital technology. He explains how governments can transform themselves from an industrial-era analogue system to become fully-digital, and cites examples of how innovation and technology can be utilised by governments to achieve a digital transformation.


  • Grant, A. & Grant, G. (2016). The innovation race: How to change a culture to change the game. Milton: John Wiley and Sons. Retrieved from OverDrive.
    The Innovation Race explores the current state of innovation and outlines some challenges which can impact innovation. It also provides practical strategies and tools to support purpose-driven sustainable innovation through deep cultural transformation in organisations to achieve long term success.


  • Keathley, J., Merrill, P. & Owens, T. (2013). Executive guide to innovation: Turning good ideas into great results. Wisconsin: ASQ Quality Press. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.
    In Executive Guide to Innovation, the authors explain how organisations can develop and manage innovation, looking at various aspects of the innovation life cycle, including how to identify and capitalise on an organisation’s innovation potential, how to foster an innovative culture in the organisation, and how innovation can be incorporated into the strategic plans.


  • Morris, L. (2014). Agile innovation: The revolutionary approach to accelerate success, inspire engagement, and ignite creativity. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.
    A detailed guide on organisational innovation, Agile Innovation covers key concepts such as applying Agile principles in the innovation process, developing a plan for innovation that is unique to the organisation, implementing strategies to accelerate innovative efforts in an organisation and reducing risks and tackling challenges during innovation.


  • Nordgren, C. (2016). Becoming a creative genius {again}. Durham: Torchflame Books. Retrieved from OverDrive.
    Becoming a Creative Genius {again} presents the perspective that people are all born with creativity and entrepreneurial skills, and explains how everyone can re-ignite our innate creativity and bring out our most entrepreneurial selves. It also provides lessons and exercises to help people rediscover and rekindle their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.


  • Skarzynski, P. & Crosswhite, D. (2014). The innovator’s field guide: Market tested methods and frameworks to help you meet your innovation challenges. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.
    This ebook details some of the likely challenges which organisations and their leaders may face during the implementation of innovation, as well as practical and proven processes, frameworks and solutions to how these challenges can be addressed and overcome.


  • Talukder, M. (2014). Managing innovation adoption: From innovation to implementation. Surrey: Routledge. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.
    Why do some organisations succeed in innovation, while others struggle with its implementation? This ebook explores the topic of management of innovation from the bottom-up, looking at how the lack of understanding and acceptance by employees can influence the adoption of innovation in an organisation. It also provides a framework which can be used to gain a better understanding of how employees adopt and use innovation in organisations.




  • Hamel, G. & Zanini, M. (2017, February 8). A few unicorns are no substitute for a competitive, innovative economy. Retrieved July 7, 2017, from Harvard Business Review website:
    Unicorns are defined as start-ups, backed by venture capitalists, which are worth more than $1 billion. The authors of this article present the view that despite unicorns’ high revenue and rapid growth, the economy is still dominated by conglomerates. Thus, to maintain a competitive economy, the key is to encourage large organisations to become more entrepreneurial and innovative.



  • Lim, C. P. (2016). “From research to innovation to enterprise: The case of Singapore.” from The global innovation index 2016: Winning with global innovation. Retrieved July 7, 2017, from Global Innovation Index website: Written by the Chairman of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore and published in the Global Innovation Index 2016 report, this article traces Singapore’s journey in research and development since independence, outlining the approaches and strategies which Singapore had adopted to enhance innovation capability and eventually become ranked 6th worldwide in the 2016 Global Innovation Index.


  • Ng, C. (2017, May 3). Developing an innovative mindset. Retrieved July 7, 2017, from The Business Times website:
    How can businesses innovate in the digital economy? This article examines how companies can innovate by harnessing or adapting digital technology to develop new or better products and services. It also provides examples of innovative use of technology in companies and the benefits which the companies have reaped.


  • Satell, G. (2017, June 21). The 4 types of innovation and the problems they solve. Retrieved July 7, 2017, from Harvard Business Review website:
    In this article, author Greg Satell explores the concept that innovation can occur in various ways because it solves different problems. He suggests that organisations fail to innovate, or sustain innovation, because they are often fixated on one type of strategy which may not suit the problems they are trying to solve. He also shared an Innovation Matrix to help organisations identify the appropriate type of strategy to solve a problem.


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Goh Lee Kim


The information in this resource guide is valid as at July 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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Written by Lee Kim Goh