TED speaker Yves Morieux knows a thing or two about how to run an organization. He’s a senior partner at The Boston Consulting Group, and an expert in how changes in company structure can make people more motivated and, crucially, more productive.

In a recent TED Talk, Morieux makes a surprising claim: We suffer from a chronic lack of productivity, and it’s because there are too many rules in our workplaces that are stopping us from getting things done.

Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize [winner] in economics, once wrote: “Productivity is not everything, but in the long run, it is almost everything.”

So this is serious. There are not that many things on earth that are “almost everything.” Productivity is the principal driver of the prosperity of a society. So we have a problem. In the largest European economies, productivity used to grow five percent per annum in the ’50s, ’60s, early ’70s. From ’73 to ’83: three percent per annum. From ’83 to ’95: two percent per annum. Since 1995: less than one percent per annum. The same profile in Japan. The same profile in the US, despite a momentary rebound 15 years ago, and despite all the technological innovations around us: the Internet, the information, the new information and communication technologies.

Yves Morieux: How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done | TED Talk Subtitles and Transcript | TED.com