From ostrich to magpie sets out how the UK can tackle the striking variation in productivity that exists between UK firms.

The results are clear: the UK needs more ‘Magpie’ and fewer ‘Ostrich’ businesses. Magpies have the skill and the will to find and adopt readily available technologies and management best practices proven to lift productivity and pay. Ostriches don’t.


The UK needs more ‘magpie’ firms with the skill and the will to find and adopt tried and trusted technologies and management practices


If the UK had more firms behaving like Magpies, and fewer behaving like Ostriches, business and government could move the needle on the UK’s sluggish productivity growth.


If the UK’s least productive firms raised their productivity to their German equivalents it would be worth over £100bn to the UK economy


Getting more firms adopting would also help to close the productivity gap between the ‘best’ and the ‘rest’ of UK businesses. Closing this gap could reduce the difference between the highest and lowest earners in the UK.


Diffusion is the missing piece of the productivity puzzle. It has been a blind spot for government


Government and business together must lead a long-term change in the UK’s adoption of technology and management best practice.


Good management complements the technical skills needed to absorb the full benefits of new-to-firm technology


 Acting on the CBI’s recommendations will help Ostrich businesses to look around, transform their performance, and enhance their contribution to a modern, open and fair UK economy.