The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), through its Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity (COE-PSP), officially launched the Productivity Challenge on February 28, 2023.

This challenge, which will run from 2023 to 2026, is multi-year crowdsourcing of ideas and actions aimed at boosting public sector productivity in the country.

It also envisions advancement in the productivity movement by raising awareness and enabling a culture of innovation to improve performance and quality service delivery.

The launch featured a webinar titled Elevating Public Sector Productivity: From Awareness to Action which targets to increase awareness and stimulate discussion on public sector productivity.

1,000 Ideas

This year, the challenge will focus on collecting and curating 1,000 Ideas that will spark productivity in the public sector. The challenge aims to provide a platform for innovative ideas on productivity.

Individuals and groups working in the public sector are encouraged to submit their ideas which will be stored in an online repository that public sector practitioners and decision-makers can access. These ideas will help them in championing public sector productivity within their organizations.

Accepting of entries for the 1,000 Ideas started last March 1, 2023, through this platform.

COE-PSP Program Manager Peter Dan Baon, who led the launch, said that the Productivity Challenge is a nudge to accelerate the much-needed productivity change in the Philippine Government.

As part of the launch, the COE-PSP also organized a webinar where Ms. Maria Rosario Ablan, a Fellow of the COE-PSP, provided an overview and practical examples of innovative ideas on productivity in the public sector.

Understanding Productivity

During her discussion, Ms. Ablan explained that, traditionally, productivity refers to the volume of inputs over the number of outputs. Productivity measures the efficiency of production inputs such as labor and capital.

Ms. Ablan explained productivity in three concepts:

  • As a technical concept – Productivity can either be partial (which refers to the ratio of output to a single input) or total (the ratio of output to all inputs).
  • As a social concept – Productivity is all attitude of the mind. It seeks to continuously improve what already exists and think of ways to do better today than yesterday.
  • As a management concept – Productivity is a managed process where an organization efficiently converts inputs to outputs (products/services) to satisfy the expectations of its clients and stakeholders.
Common productivity issues

In her presentation, Ms. Ablan shared the concepts of Three Mus introduced by Taiichi Ohno, a Japanese industrial engineer considered the Father of the Toyota Production System.

  • Muda (waste) – Any activity that consumes resources without adding customer value. Muda essentially increases organizational costs while increasing the possibility of committing errors. Examples of Muda include defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, and extra processing.
  • Mura (unevenness) – This productivity issue refers to the erratic pace of work (i.e., rushed, slowed down, or stopped). Mura promotes inconsistencies within the organization, attributed to poor planning and an unbalanced workload.
  • Muri (overburden) – Utilization of people or equipment beyond their capacity. Mura brings unnecessary stress or burden to people and equipment.

During the webinar, the participants had the opportunity to share the productivity problems and concerns they face within their respective organizations, aligned with the productivity wastes discussed.

Productivity in action

Ms. Ablan also shared examples of productivity initiatives in the Philippines and from other countries. Here are some:

  • Philippines – Baliwag Treasury Information and Management System by the Provincial Government of Bulacan. The system required less manual paperwork and allowed real-time cash flow monitoring and efficient report generation.
  • Malaysia – Facial Recognition to prevent crimes by the Penang State Government. The intervention helped ease law enforcement and address street crimes by installing and upgrading the CCTV control center.
  • Hong Kong – Vehicle Mapping System by the Hong Kong Lands Department. This intervention helped efficiently acquire street view imagery and point cloud data, enabling the government to assess buildings’ conditions.
  • Indonesia – Citizen Relationship Management Application by the Jakarta Provincial Government and Jakarta City Management. The app aims to bridge the gap between the citizens and the provincial government and promote a transparent, clean, citizen-focused type of government.

“If the productivity at the national level is high, it means that we have an effective use of resources—leading to economic growth and a better standard of living and human welfare,” Ms. Ablan said during the webinar.

Did you miss the event? Watch the webinar recording here.

Are you up to the challenge? Join and visit us at