Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – October 2013

Welcome to October 2013 edition of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

This month, we have a broader canvas of articles that looks at Quality from different perspectives.

Evan Mathews Sanders, in his “journey to becoming a better man every day and the lessons I learn along the way” @ The Better Man Project presents

The Finest Moment

Our finest moment

Is when we reach

For something past our present

Like a fumbling hand into the future

But with a vision

That hand becomes still

One that grips with purpose

And moves away from temptation

And , on somewhat different note, we have Jessica Gross @ TED Talks’s SCIENCE section presenting the views of biologist Stuart Firesten on “In praise of ignorance” in today’s TED talk. Stuart Firestein, while proposing that science is really about ignorance, states that “Science, we generally are told, is a very well-ordered mechanism for understanding the world, for gaining facts, for gaining data.”   He explains: “I mean a kind of ignorance that’s less pejorative, a kind of ignorance that comes from a communal gap in our knowledge, something that’s just not there to be known or isn’t known well enough yet or we can’t make predictions from.” the more we know, the more we realize there is yet to be discovered.

The Quality and HSE professionals may draw lessons from Jeremy Anderberg’s Survival Lessons from World War Z @ The Art of Manliness. We have a “unique telling of the popular genre. What really sets it apart from those other cheap zombie thrills is that it focuses largely on how individuals, communities, and governments would react to such a scenario. It’s almost more of a fictional sociology textbook rather than a novel.

Whether in the actual apocalypse, or just a localized natural disaster (like what we experienced a couple weeks ago here in Colorado), these are lessons that anyone and everyone can start applying.

It took freak flooding in the city I live in to teach me the lesson that being prepared for disasters isn’t just for folks who are hard-core, it’s for people who are smart and want to come out the other end with their families and communities intact.

  • It’s Not If, But When – “Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has. That’s not stupidity, that’s just human nature.” –World War Z by Max Brooks
  • Zombies Don’t Care About Your PowerPoint Skills – Ours was a post-industrial or service-based economy, so complex and highly specialized that each individual could only function within the confines of its narrow, compartmentalized structure. …We needed to get a lot of white collars dirty.”
  • Practice Self-Reliance Before You Need It – Not only will having DIY skills help you rebuild your community, they also greatly increase your self-reliance.
  • Basic Physical Fitness is Paramount – “Make no mistake, bipedal locomotion was how most people traveled in the beginning.” Traffics jams of stalled cars that are miles long will be the norm in every big city.
  • Relationships Matter, Even in the Apocalypse – Our jobs tend to have pretty defined hierarchies. This should go without saying, but treat everyone (secretaries, janitors, security guards, doormen) in your office and building just as you would a peer. Beyond being a kind gentleman, those people may very well save your life someday.
  • The Latest and Greatest Technology Isn’t Always the Greatest  – Technological advances are a fantastic thing. They provide entertainment, enjoyment, efficiency, convenience…and the list goes on. There is also a downside, however, particularly when it comes to survival scenarios. If we become too dependent on new technologies, it can hamper our survival efforts. Remember it was old Ham radio that came to communication rescue in the matter of Colardo” (or Uttaarakhand, India) flash floods.

On a similar note, Bill Wilder  @ Learning is Change, in the article – The Master’s Lessons on Learning – presents what “Leonardo da Vinci once said that “learning never exhausts the mind.”  Although we’ll never know for sure exactly what he meant, it sounds like he was saying something like this: Real learning happens when people do stimulating things that don’t wear them out.”

We now move on to some hard-core Quality issues. Incidentally, these articles come from some of the ASQ’s Influential Voices.

Nicole @ Quality And Innovation opens with a statement “Achieving quality (re: ISO 9000 para 3.1.5) is all about meeting stated and implied needs” in Expressing Your Needs and then goes on to link Steve Pavlina’s broader discussion that there is probably a vast audience of potential partners and co-creators who, at any time, are ready and willing (and happy!) to meet your needs. It’s just that you haven’t broadcast those needs and so the people who would be happy to help you meet them are still in the dark. “But our society has conditioned us not to freely express our needs to friends, family, and others; after all, if we need something, the marketing should have worked already, and we should know where we can go to willingly exchange currency for the means to satisfy that need.”  The author sums up the article with – “first step is for me to start getting comfortable with expressing my needs – and being open to the people who will show up to help meet them.”

Anshuman Tiwari @ Qualty the Unfair Advantage has passionately thrown the gauntlet for the quality professionals in Quality must make money and not just be the right thing to do.  “In a recent post on his bog, Paul Borwaski, CEO of ASQ, shared a fantastic turnaround story about Corning Glass. As usual Paul choses his subjects wisely and presents his thought crisply. See the case study here.

Here are some key insights from Corning’s revival and dominance through Quality that I could summarize for you.

  • Winning the Baldrige is not enough – New challenges emerge requiring new responses. Corning Glass’s case clearly demonstrates how quickly we can slip if we drop the ball.
  • Quality is a Board subject – With Corning Glass’s case it is reiterated that once Quality slips lower in the organizational hierarchy, poor quality results follow quickly.
  • BigQ and Performance Excellence – Small Q is a reference to product quality and Big Q refers to an all-encompassing view – quality of business processes. With dimensions such business processes and customer experience the quality field has evolved into Performance Excellence. Corning realized this and included all functions in their quality program. Rich dividends followed.
  • Don’t ignore Quality training – All change starts with knowledge. Without adequate knowledge of what to do we risk changing processes only to create more havoc. Corning realized the value of training before embarking on change and invested in Six Sigma and Lean training for over 1000 staff.
  • Choose methods and tools wisely – Corning did not just pick every method available. They studied all and developed a framework and stuck to it. The Corning Performance Excellence model addresses collaboration, innovation, and improvement.
  • Quality must make money – Finally a Quality program must help make money. Quality is free but not charity.

Dr. Lotto Lai @ Quality Alchemist, has chosen the ‘The ANQ 2013’ in the article Asiaization is the Future of Quality  – which was slated to be held from 14th to 18th October 2013 – Bangkok, THAILAND , meet  to launch a relatively new lexicon in the realm of Quality – “Asiaization (亞洲化) [which]  is an action, process, or result of doing or making Asia-like; implying Asia culture and habit will be more and more important in the world.” In his detailed and methodologically narrative he emphatically states that “Asiaization (亞洲化) will be a key force of the “Future of Quality””.

Jamie Flinchbaugh, in the article Lessons From the Road: Get the Most from Your Assessments has presented the value of Assessment, as different from Audit He states that Assessment is the part of continuous improvement that people generally don’t enjoy, and don’t get nearly the value from that they should. As the saying goes, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” The article has also spelt out the steps for realizing the value of the assessment.

Dr. Lotto Lai also leads us to this month’s visit to an organization  engagaged in the pursuits of Quality Movement. Asian Network for Quality (ANQ), established since 2002, will take a significant role to contributing to the world economic development through improving quality.

The theme of ANQ 2013 is “Quality for the Strength of Asia”.

The keynote address @ ANQ 2012 – The First Ten Year Journey of ANQ  Presented by Dr. Noriaki Kano provides the detailed journey of growth of ANQ since 2002.

The emerging importance of the Quality Fraternity of Asia, in “45 year history of the Academy this is the first time a person – Mr Janak Mehta , Founder President ISQ and presently Chair International Relation Committee of ISQ  –  from region other than USA, Europe and Japan has been elected to this position.

We now take a look at current Roundup, which now presents a range of views by the ASQ Influential voices, in The Challenges of Sustaining Excellence wherein Scott Rutherford wraps up the bloggers’ comments nicely when he says: “Each organization has a unique culture with periods of great success as well as turbulent times. Ultimately, it is the alignment of culture, strategy, and execution that defines organizational sustainment during change of organizational leadership.”

In our regular winding up session from ASQ™ TV: Creating a Global View of Quality, we have ASQ TV Episode 9: Process Improvement.  This episode is about elements of process improvement. A Mexican automotive parts manufacturer shares its improvement story. An expert in transformational thinking gets us to look beyond standardization and problem solving. A rock band treats us to its interpretation of process improvement.

This month we visit Jimena Calfa  @ ASQ’s Influential Voices

Jimena CalfaAn Argentina native Jimena Calfa is a systems engineer specializing in quality software. She also writes about using quality tools in everyday life at Let’s Talk About Quality. She regards quality as “key of success of every organization and every person, in every aspect of life.

She understands Quality from the perspective of what Aristotle has said: “Quality is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Quality, then, is not an act but a habit”.

She has passionately put across the rationale for writing blog by quoting the Cuban writer, José Martí : “Everyone to be complete has to plant a tree, have a child and write a book”. “In this technological age, we could replace the last part of the phrase and say “… and write a Blog.”

Her blog – Let’s Talk About Quality has sections like General Concepts [where we find articles on quality, in general]  XX vs. YY [which has articles like Customer vs. ClientActuality – ASQ [documenting her association @ ASQ] Q & A OFI (Opportunities for Improvement) My Bookshelf [listing the books she would recommend].

And we finally round up our present edition with –
Management Improvement Carnival # 200

We end current edition of the festival with James Clear’s article @  Lifehacker –  A Scientific Guide to Effectively Saying No. “In fact, not being able to say no is one of the most biggest downfalls that successful entrepreneurs claim as their own key mistakes.

“I can’t” and “I don’t” are words that seem similar and we often interchange them for one another, but psychologically they can provide very different feedback and, ultimately, result in very different actions.

The ability to overcome temptation and effectively say no is critical not only to your physical health, but also for your daily productivity and mental health. To put it simply: you can either be the victim of your words or the architect of them. Which one would you prefer?
But I do continue to wait to know your reasons for saying NO to my statement at the end of every edition, seeking your constructive inputs and suggestions…. to improve content and the style of this Blog Festival… And of course your YES – to put forward your views, candidly, is what I really look forward to…………………..

The more we know, the more we realize there is yet to be discovered – In praise of ignorance

“Science, we generally are told, is a very well-ordered mechanism for understanding the world, for gaining facts, for gaining data,” biologist Stuart Firestein says in today’s TED talk. “I’d like to tell you that’s not the case.”


Firestein explains that ignorance, in fact, grows from knowledge — that is, the more we know, the more we realize there is yet to be discovered. The purpose of gaining knowledge is, in fact, “to make better ignorance: to come up with, if you will, higher quality ignorance,” he describes. “The purpose is to be able to ask lots of questions — to be able to frame thoughtful, interesting questions — because that’s where the work is.”

The Columbia University professor of biological sciences peppers his talk with beautiful quotations celebrating this very specific type of ignorance. Here, a few he highlighted, along with a few other favorites:

1. “Thoroughly conscious ignorance is the prelude to every real advance in science.” James Clerk Maxwell, a nineteenth-century physicist quoted by Firestein.

2. “Part of what we also have to train people to do is to learn to love the questions themselves. If all you want in life are answers, then science is not for you. We have things that always give you answers to things–like religion… In science, on the frontier, the answers haven’t come yet. That’s why we have people working on the frontier.” Neil deGrasse Tyson on Bullseye.

3. “The great obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents and the ocean was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.” Daniel J. Boorstin, The Discoverers.

4. “Science is always wrong. It never solves a problem without creating 10 more.” George Bernard Shaw, at a dinner celebrating Einstein (quoted by Firestein in his book, Ignorance: How it Drives Science).

5. “Every answer given on principle of experience begets a fresh question.” Immanuel Kant‘s Principle of Question Propagation (featured in Evolution of the Human Diet).

6. “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” Socrates, quoted in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosphers (via the Yale Book of Quotations).

7. “Ignorance is the first requisite of the historian — ignorance, which simplifies and clarifies, which selects and omits, with a placid perfection unattainable by the highest art.” Lytton Strachey, biographer and critic, Eminent Victorians, 1918 (via the Yale Book of Quotations).

8. “In an honest search for knowledge, you quite often have to abide by ignorance for an indefinite period.” Erwin Schrodinger, quantum physicist (quoted in Gaither’s Dictionary of Scientific Quotations).

9. “There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovered exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.” Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “Fit the Seventh” radio program, 1978 (via the Yale Book of Quotations).

10. “Ignorance follows knowledge, not the other way around.” Stuart Firestein, Ignorance: How It Drives Science.

CourtseyTED Blog – SCIENCE TED Talks – Posted by: Jessica Gross