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仕事を抱え込んでしまって困った山田さんが、「なにを作るかよりも、いかに新しい作り方をするかです」と言ったって、説得力がない。

This means; Yamada who dived into a new job and got in trouble said "its less what your make, but in what new way you make it", which was very unconvincing.

Is that right? im confused by the question followed by desu.

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    In the quotation marks “it’s less what you make, but in what new way you make it”? – user25382 Oct 16 '17 at 12:41
  • I think we need more context... – Sweeper Oct 16 '17 at 13:33
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    I think the point of the sentence is that this statement is particularly unconvincing coming from Yamada, since he took on work that he couldn't handle, so he's in no position to be giving advice on best work practices. But as for Yamada's actual statement, yes, your interpretation looks fine. "It's not so much about what you make, it's about what innovative ways you find of making it." – Ben Roffey Oct 16 '17 at 14:10
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なにを作{つく}るよりも、いかに新{あたら}しい作り方{かた}をするです」

The part preceding the final 「です」 above is not a question even though it contains "elements" of a question -- 「なに」、「いかに」 and 「か」.

「Interrogative word + verb phrase +

in this context, as it often does, functions as a noun phrase just as in "I don't know what to eat." in English.

Moving on to my next point..

「A + より(も) + B + です/だ/である」

means:

"B is more important than A.", "B is more desirable than A.", etc.

Notice that there is no word needed in the expression that directly means "important", "desirable", etc.

Thus, the whole sentence means:

If Yamada, who himself is in deep trouble with too much work on hand, said "It is more desirable to think about new (and more efficient) ways to produce than to (just) think about what to produce.", it would not be convincing.

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It's not a question. While one of the main functions of か is to mark a direct question, it has other functions too. In this case to indicate a question or hypothetical instance, in other words an either/or situation. So, either the question of what you make (なにを作るか)or the question of the new way you make it (いかに新しい作り方をするか) is up for discussion in the quote.

食べるか話すかどちらにしなさい。"Just do one thing, eat or talk"
In this case, it's like saying "decide on the question of eating or talking". "Decide on whether you're going to eat or talk". The function of か here is the same as in your example, namely to indicate an either/or situation. Especially when you see two clauses both ending with か it is very often a way to compare these two clauses in some way.

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    Would agree but I think the よりも after the first Ka makes it different to a normal 'or' in this case – Pootan Oct 16 '17 at 20:59
  • True enough, but the core function of comparing the clauses is the same. – kandyman Oct 17 '17 at 11:00

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