“During the 20th century, operations (which involve the running of organizations) created tremendous value, and they did so through advances in efficiency and productivity. But for most of the current century, productivity growth in Western economies has been almost flat, despite the explosion of the internet, shorter product life cycles, and exponential advances in AI and robotics.
Meanwhile, projects (which involve the changing of organizations) are increasingly driving both short-term performance and long-term value creation—through more-frequent organizational transformations, faster development of new products, quicker adoption of new technologies, and so on. This is a global phenomenon. In Germany, for example, projects have been rising steadily as a percentage of GDP since at least 2009, and in 2019 they accounted for as much as 41% of the total. Precise data is hard to come by for other countries, but similar percentages are likely to apply in most other Western economies. The percentages are probably even higher in China and other leading Asian economies, where project-based work has long been an important source of growth.
And we’re only just getting started. In 2017, the Project Management Institute estimated that the value of project-oriented economic activity worldwide would grow from $12 trillion in 2017 to $20 trillion in 2027, in the process putting some 88 million people to work in project management–oriented roles—and those estimates were made before nations started spending trillions on pandemic-recovery projects. (…)”