Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Next Generation Open Quality Communities

This was one of those blog posts by Bill that made me think quite a bit, before I could pen my thoughts.  The blog post revolves around the article by Brooks Carder, a long time member of ASQ. Brooks, in his article, makes a strong point about quality - "After all, quality is responsible for many of the things that makes life better".   Quoting some of Brooks thoughts, Bill has asked 2 questions to the fellow ASQ bloggers - how to encourage those who work on quality to understand their own value, and, how to spread the message of quality in a marketplace that is primarily focused on other objectives.

I agree with Brooks and believe that quality is responsible to make our lives better - directly or indirectly, visibly or invisibly.  Conversely, poor quality products and services give immense trouble to the society; examples are in plenty - from automobile recalls to airplane accidents - attributed to poor quality.

It is important to encourage those who work on quality - both individuals and enterprises.   Governments, ASQ, and Other Professional Bodies have put in various mechanisms in place for this.  For example, ASQ members with high experience and proven contributions towards quality are awarded with Senior and Fellow member statuses.  ASQ also recognizes Quality Practitioners and Gurus for their contributions towards quality through its prestigious Awards and Scholarships.   Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards (MBNQA) is awarded to US companies that excel in Quality.   In lines with MBNQA, there are other awards to enterprises and organizations that consistently demonstrate high quality and performance excellence; examples are Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM) award in India for Tata group companies and National Quality Award by American Healthcare Association (AHCA) - for performance excellence.  A complete list of National Quality Awards can be found here.

We can now see that there are lots of mechanisms to recognize, motivate and inspire individuals and enterprises, in the form of awards, scholarships, rewards etc., to contribute towards quality.  The big question to ask is - are these mechanisms sufficient enough to encourage those who work on quality to understand their own value.  May be not!

While quality awards primarily focus on extrinsic motivation, the quality professionals and practitioners must ideally also be motivated intrinsically.   Like the open source software communities,  global quality professional communities will need to be formed that work on creating and improving innovative and practical quality concepts, tools, techniques and processes for the betterment of society.   Professional bodies like ASQ can facilitate the formation of such communities by creating platforms for collaboration, research and development, and implementation.   These communities will need to completely forget the commercial aspects, whatsoever, and primarily focus on contributions towards innovation in quality and improvement of human society.

Today's is a highly collaborative world.  Due to the advancements in smart devices, internet and network technologies, quality professionals, across the world, can stay closely connected and collaborate in real-time.   While various quality communities and groups exist today, they need to be tweaked, restructured or re-engineered for the modern world scenarios and needs.  The newer quality communities will motivate creation of newer quality concepts and tools and also bring to light newer quality gurus to the world.   ASQ Influential Blogger community is a welcome initiative from ASQ for such a collaborative platform that connects quality professionals across the world.  Further newer platforms are yet to emerge and evolve!


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