The Productivity Engine

10.6.24 2024

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In Bidwells’ latest groundbreaking report, The Productivity Engine, we uncover the fundamental role that space plays in understanding - and solving - the UK’s productivity problems.

There are fundamental challenges holding back a generation, limiting our economic potential and impacting our living standards. The housing shortage, exacerbated by restrictive planning and underinvestment, is delaying young adults' independence and sapping disposable income. The rise of hybrid work post-COVID is impacting office use and local businesses. Soaring housing costs are pushing workers further from jobs, lengthening commutes and lowering productivity.

The UK is also failing to fully commercialise its world-class scientific research. Funding gaps, talent shortages, and insufficient government support are hindering the growth of innovative SMEs, particularly outside the Golden Triangle. The economic and social costs of not nurturing homegrown breakthroughs in AI, life sciences, and sustainability are immense.

At the same time, the UK must juggle rising energy demands from booming knowledge industries with urgent decarbonisation goals, necessitating a revamp of aging power infrastructure.

To better understand the complex web of factors influencing productivity, we have developed a framework to interrogate the four key types of space that can help lift the UK’s productivity: Housing, Cities, Innovation, and Power & Infrastructure.

These first order effects, primary drivers of productivity, are often overlooked or underappreciated in the national discourse. There are 'second-order effects' too, the myriad of factors that interact with and influence these primary drivers of productivity. 

These first order effects, primary drivers of productivity, are often overlooked or underappreciated in the national discourse. There are 'second-order effects' too, the myriad of factors that interact with and influence these primary drivers of productivity. 

PE Report


Rather than focusing merely on the well documented productivity problems we face, Alongside Bidwells’ experts, we invited more than 15 leading thinkers from real estate, academia, renewable energy, Forestry, operational living, and science & technology,  to put forward their own personal solutions to how we might make an impact on solving the Uk's living standards crisis.
Solving the UK's housing shortage, finding new ways to power infrastructure, better understanding new working patterns and improving the lives of young renters, should not just be a top economic priority for the next government - it should drive all of us.
Nick Pettit - Senior Partner

Contributors to The Productivity Engine include:

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Sir Peter Knight

Chair of the UK Quantum Technology

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Olaide Oboh

Executive Director, Socius

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Diane Coyle

Bennett Professor of Public Policy and Co-Director of the Bennett, Institute for Public Policy

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Andrew Taylor

Group Planning Director, Vistry Group

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Stuart Grant

CEO of Harwell Campus and ARC

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Katy Lock

Director , Communities (FJ Osborn Fellow), TCPA

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Bill Page

Head of Real Estate Research, Legal & General, Investment Management

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Mark Woodrow

COO, Packaged Living

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Ian Harris

Director of Asset Management, Ironstone

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Richard O’Boyle

Executive Director of Pioneer Group

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Ashley Perry

Investment Director, Apache Capital Partners

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Andy Lanz

CO CEO & Partner at RIOS

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Mike Archer

Senior Director, UK Government Affairs, AstraZeneca

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Ellie Junod

Investment Manager, Associate Director, Life Sciences, UBS

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Anthony Slumbers

Proptech speaker, advisor and writer

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Barnaby Wharton

Director, Future Electricity Systems

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David Leslie

Joint Managing Director, James Jones and Sons

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Will Gallagher

Chief Strategy Officer, East West Rail

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Adam Sciberras

Placemaking Director, Milton Keynes Development Partnership

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Our Research experts

Sue Foxley

Sue Foxley

Research Director

Sue leads a dynamic programme of research at Bidwells. Working with her colleague Mark Callender, she is particularly focused on the real estate implications of the science and technology sector.

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Mark Callender - higher res

Mark Callendar

Research Partner

Mark was appointed as research partner to focus on high-growth sectors, including renewable energy, science and technology, and natural capital markets.

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