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Attention is your scarcest resource – use it wisely

Julian Birkinshaw, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, London Business School

22 March 2016

What is your scarcest resource during the work day?

Most people answer, without hesitation, that time is their scarcest resource. Well it is certainly finite, but actually I don't think it's your most scarce resource. After all, everyone has the same amount of time, and yet individual differences in productivity are enormous.

It is interesting to think that we talk about being in the 'information age' on the basis that progress is linked to the explosion of information over the last half century. According to this view, information is central to firm success - the firm's ability to harness information and apply it to commercial ends is the basis of competitive advantage. But nothing could be further from the truth. Information isn't scarce - it is ubiquitous. And as Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon first suggested 40 years ago, when information is plentiful, attent...

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