Productivity growth drives long-term living standards, and boosting economic growth in the future will increasingly depend upon improvements in multifactor productivity. However, productivity has slowed in many developed countries, raising concerns about prospects for the future which could seriously affect the pace of economic growth in developing economies including Asia. To address the ongoing pessimistic view of continued slow growth, the OECD report on the Future of Productivity identifies three policy areas that appear to be of key importance to sustaining productivity growth:

1) foster innovation at the global level and facilitate the diffusion of new technologies to firms at national levels;

2) create a market environment where the most productive firms are allowed to thrive, thereby facilitating the more widespread penetration of available technologies; and

3) reduce resource misallocations, particularly skill mismatches. Achieving sustainable productivity therefore increasingly depends on the development of knowledge, innovations, and scientific and technological advances coupled with public policies that lead to social, economic, and environmental improvements in the long run.

For the APO, raising sustainable productivity is a fundamental challenge for its member countries to go forward amid the challenges faced within and outside the region. More than ever, productivity remains the main driver of future growth and prosperity. Against this backdrop, MPC with support of APO has organised this forum to generate recommendations on how to strengthen the governance of institutions devoted to enhancing sustainable productivity and improving the design and implementation of productivity policies while taking into account specific national contexts. The forum also fosters international cooperation between public bodies responsible for promoting sustainable productivity-enhancing policies and serves as a platform for participants to exchange information and data, discuss best practices and advances in the knowledge and technology-driven economy through research findings, and undertake practical discussions on positioning productivity growth at the global level.


This forum has brought together stakeholders with global perspectives to share experiences, address policy challenges to productivity growth, and discuss the implementation of productivity enhancing policies. Specifically, the forum serves as a platform to:
a. Review the trends in and the future of global sustainable productivity;
b. Analyze sources of productivity growth in a knowledge- and technology-driven economy;
c. Understand the role of public institutions and policies in enhancing productivity; and
d. Discuss best practices and frontier-research findings on productivity.

Paper Presentation

Sustaining Productivity Growth: The Key in Meeting Global Challenges

The keynote presentation highlighted some key facts and trends in regulatory practices and their implications to productivity including overall quality of regulations. Issues such as regulatory institution and regulatory environment, reforms to improve productivity, innovation and diffusion of public policies and services/programs and others have been stressed to understand the challenges in sustaining productivity growth both from national and global perspectives.

Reflection on Taiwan’s Higher Education Policies Towards Productivity Growth

This paper illustrated how Taiwan’s higher education policies responded to the forces of globalization, the neo-liberal economic ideology, and the worldwide trend towards greater international competition in higher education in the last two decades and its implications to productivity growth and economic prosperity of the country.

Regulatory and Competition Issues in ASEAN and its implications to Productivity Growth

The presentation discussed how regulations are made in the ASEAN region, and the application of the Good Regulatory Practice (GRP). The discussion focused on the GRP initiatives in ASEAN and how they are being implemented in certain member states. The paper also looked at the application of the GRP in the formation of investment policies in Myanmar and Laos PDR and their potential impacts on the private sector investments.

Monitoring Organizational Performance and its Implications to Sustainable Productivity

The presentation highlighted the importance of organisational performance for strengthening capacities and sustainable productivity. It focused on a holistic perspective on key dimensions of organisational performance referring to individual competencies as well as organisational capabilities.

Radical Approach to Regulatory Reform to achieve Productivity Growth and Competitiveness: Korean Experience

This presentation introduced the regulatory reform efforts of the Korean Government to cope with the slowdown in growth potential. In doing so, this presentation assessed the achievements and remaining challenges of regulatory reform strategies in Korea.

Best Practices on Regulatory Reform with Impact on Productivity

This session conveyed the strong link of regulatory reform to productivity including resiliency and sustainable growth over the long term. For a better understanding, this session provided some evidence by citing specific cases on regulatory reforms undertaken and their impacts on productivity and competitiveness. Some of the best practices on actual reforms have also been discussed, and consider how they can be replicated in other areas/countries with different conditions. The discussion was not only limited on regulations carried out by the government but also on reform in various sectors including education that is crucial in enhancing productivity.

Smart Community 2050

As Malaysia continues on its trajectory to be among the global elites, it is important to note that this is only achievable through its people, the decisions being made today, and leveraging on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). Hence, it is envisioned that Malaysia 2050 will be one comprising of Smart Communities where we live in a harmonious, prosperous and sustainable milieu. Since 2009, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) has embarked on the Malaysia 2050 Agenda to help Malaysians achieve this vision and lay the foundation today for a better tomorrow.

Restructuring Existing Workforce Towards Higher-skilled Workers

Industry 4.0 is a combination of many different fields of expertise and, currently, it is sufficient for the factory or industry employees being exposed to electronics, electrical, mechanical engineering, Pneumatic and others. Employees, who will be working in the industry 4.0 factories, need to have more than all these skills. The presentation also explained the 9 pillars of the Industry 4.0 and what type of skills and methods need to be adopted by the industries to have a successful up-skilling & reskilling of their employees.

Productivity Gains of Industry 4.0 and the Chemical Industry

That paper touched on the industry 4.0 and why is it changing the manufacturing of chemical industry and how can industry players harness on Industry 4.0 to improve productivity.  The presentation included examples of cases and learning lessons for people keen to drive productivity improvement via Industry 4.0.

Empowering Associations to Support Enterprise-Level Productivity

In a time of change with increased velocity and complexity, country level productivity growth continues to be driven by sector productivity and ultimately enterprise level productivity. For a small nation like Singapore, all hands are on deck to help enterprises transform to be more lean and competitive. In this enterprise transformation journey, the Association plays a vital role as the receptacle, multiplier, and enabler to support enterprise- level productivity. The changing roles of association and how they support enterprises under the key transformation pillars were shared in this session.

Future-oriented Competency Development

Global challenges demand for rapid change to all levels of a society. The economic and social conditions, often described as VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous), demand a future centered competency development of professionals. This requires a multi-dimensional understanding of competency as well as innovative competency development interventions.

Big Data: Internet of Things and its Implications to Sustainable Productivity Growth

In this session, an overview of big data and the state of data science were presented. The paper also be looked at the state of IoT and the sources of data available in this present time. The presentation goes on to look at the components of a high performance-data-driven digital enterprise as an essential business model to enhancing productivity and growth. The presentation ended with a discussion on the emergence of machine learning in data analytics and its implications to sustainable productivity and growth.

Best Practices on Future Talent to Drive Productivity

Organisations must have the best talent in order to succeed in a highly competitive and increasingly complex global economy. Hence, it requires a clear understanding on the current and future strategies so that future talent requirements can be aligned. This session focused on : What is future talent?, How to ensure that future talents address the demands of future industries? How do future talents drive productivity in the long run given the technological advancement?

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