The Development of Academy (DAP), through its Center of Excellence on Public-Sector Productivity (COE-PSP) on 28 February 2023 officially launched the Productivity Challenge, a multi-year crowdsourcing of ideas and actions that can help boost public sector productivity in the Philippines. The launch also featured the productivity webinar, Elevating Public Sector Productivity: From Awareness to Action, which aimed to increase awareness and stimulate discussion on public sector productivity.

COE-PSP Program Manager Peter Dan Baon headed the launch of the Productivity Challenge, which will run from 2023 to 2026. For 2023, the Challenge will focus on collecting and curating 1,000 ideas that spark productivity in the Philippine public sector. This Challenge also aims to provide a platform for innovative ideas on productivity to be submitted by individuals and groups working in the public sector. These ideas will be housed in an online repository that public sector practitioners and decision-makers can refer to give them ideas on how they can champion for public sector productivity within their organizations.

“The Productivity Challenge is a nudge to accelerate the much-needed productivity change in the Philippine Government,” said Mr. Baon.

The Productivity Challenge envisions an advancement in the productivity movement by raising awareness, enabling a culture of innovation to improve productivity performance, and quality service delivery. Entries will be accepted starting 1 March 2023 through this platform.

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

Understanding productivity

Ms. Ablan explained that traditionally, productivity refers to the volume of inputs over the volume of outputs. Productivity is used to measure the efficiency of production inputs such as labor and capital.

She added that productivity can be explained 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 (which is the ratio of output to all of the inputs).
  • As a social concept – Productivity is all attitude of the mind and seeks to continuously improve what already exists and think of ways on how 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, she shared the concepts of three Mus introduced by Mr. Taiichi Ohno, a Japanese industrial engineer, who is considered the Father of the Toyota Production System.

  • Muda (waste) – Any activity that consumes resources without adding value to the customers. Muda essentially increases organizational costs while increasing the possibility of committing errors. Defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, and extra processing fall under muda.
  • 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, which can be attributed to poor planning and unbalanced workload.
  • Muri (overburden) – This means people or equipment are utilized beyond their capacity. Mura brings unnecessary stress or burden to people and equipment.

Webinar participants also had the opportunity to share the productivity problems and concerns they face in their respective organizations, which were also aligned with the productivity wastes discussed.

Productivity in action

Ms. Ablan also shared examples of productivity initiatives from other countries and in the Philippines. Some are summarized below:

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

In her discussion, Ms. Ablan mentioned that “if the productivity at the national level is high, it means we have an effective use of resources—leading to economic growth and better standard of living and human welfare.”

Did you miss the event? Watch the webinar recording here.
Are you up to the challenge? Join and visit us at