The Productivity/Learning Paradox: Why Productivity and Learning Are (Often) The Same Thing

The Productivity/Learning Paradox: Why Productivity and Learning Are (Often) The Same Thing

Joshua Wohle - Published on Jul 20, 2021

People often ask me if Mindstone is a productivity or a learning platform, so I thought I should write about why I think those are the wrong labels to apply. In this post, I will explain why I think that in today’s world, productivity and learning are often the same thing.

It used to be the case that people learned for the first 25 years of their lives and applied what they’d learned for the next 35. In today’s world, where the speed of change has accelerated and automation creates ever more need for upskilling & re-skilling, that is no longer true. 

In the 30+ years since the invention of the internet, information has become universally accessible and overwhelming at the same time. Over 5,000 blog posts are published per minute, 150,000 academic papers are published per month and 50 years of video is uploaded to youtube daily.

Today, dealing with this information overload is simply part of the job. We glug from the firehose of information to stay up-to-date, try to discover the gems among the rubbish and extract the insights we need to perform our job. This we call being productive

When I ask people how much of their day is spent learning, the answer is often “not much”, usually followed by “although I wish I had more time”. What we forget, however, is that extracting, contextualizing and distilling insights from a large body of content are the fundamental building blocks of learning.

Every non-entertainment article we read, every in-depth podcast we listen to and every explainer video we watch has the potential to unlock new insight. That insight, when treated effectively, leads to actual learning. Too often, though, the environment we consume this content in and the tools we use to do it are optimised for consumption & entertainment instead of extracting the insights we need.

As reliance on information management to perform our jobs is only increasing, the distinction between learning & productivity is quickly disappearing. Although we might call it productivity, we are constantly trying to learn

A big part of what we do at Mindstone is bridging that gap. We help people move from merely consuming information to extracting the insights they require and learning from them. So when people ask me if we’re a learning or a productivity platform, I answer “both, but that’s the wrong question”.