How do you balance quality and profitability?

zen rocks balanced and harmonious

Recently a continuous improvement professional asked, “How do you balance quality and profitability? If you maximize one, do you trade off the other?” My answer was:

My partner and I just finished writing a book on  safety, quality and productivity in the construction industry from an inventive point-of-view. What we found was really amazing. In the fewest possible words here’s the bottom line. Where ever you have a safety issue (or quality issue) you also have a hidden productivity issue. Solve for safety (and/or quality) and productivity efficiencies usually come along for free.
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How to handle situations when employees resist to improve a process

blog_resistance to change
Recently a Quality Analyst asked what method or tool could she use during a team project to handle resistance to change. “Some team members will oppose the changes and some will embrace the changes. How to can you get those oppose on board?” She asked.

There were some thoughtful, powerful, and insightful responses. My answer was as follows:

First: It sounds like you know there is going to be resistance and who those people will be. That means you have not solved the whole problem yet. Put in a little more time, find out why they won’t like the change and incorporate that important information into the final solution. Resistance is vital information
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Scott Burr’s perspective on reorganization

Only change 5 percent

Because Scott is very experienced at leading organizational change and has unique perspectives on innovation and leadership, he is often invited to provide perspective on issues or situations that others may not have considered.

Recently someone asked for his insights on restructuring an organization. He whipped out an email with these five points. 
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Structured Innovation – Inventiveness as a methodology

fantasy representation of enzyme in channel

A computer has invented! And it wasn’t just blindly following an algorithm. As I understand it, a computer called “Adam”* was programmed to carry out the entire scientific innovation process on its own. It formulated hypotheses. It designed and ran experiments. It analyzed the resulting data and then decided which experiments to run next. The computer incorporates artificial intelligence. This robotic system made a novel scientific discovery with virtually no human intellectual input (2009) and can utilize the scientific method.

Most of us who are serial inventors go through the innovation process so quickly, it seems like a single stroke of brilliance (I say with a modest tuck of my chin). But in fact, if we break down what is happening, there is a step-by-step process and this process has been studied for over 60 years.
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Serial Innovators – what type of person are they?

Rear Admiral "Amazing" Grace Hopper

Contrary to popular belief, genius innovators are not one particular type of personality. If you want a clear example of this, compare Thomas Alva Edison and Nickola Tesla!  In fact, innovative people come in all personality types. And I’ll even go one step further.

Innovation can happen within any environment. You don’t need to have a specific type of culture, space, support, management, local, proximity to, or anything outside of yourself to invent repeatedly.
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Other Good Answers to the Quality Question

blog_Quality and CPI

Once again, the question Christopher posed on LinkedIn was: When does continual improvement actually begin?

A woman named, Uttia, said the following and I thought her answer was good:

First you need a process. Then you determine what you need to achieve in that process, then you need to set objectives in that process to achieve that. Then you need to set your objective and a proposed course of action to achieve that objective.
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Solar Energy Creates Quite a Firestorm

blog_solar_local_generation

Wow, my comments on solar energy really upset some people.

They thought I entirely bypassed the largest single issue related to the viability of solar power as a significant contributor to our “power portfolio”, which was:

“how much energy per square meter is even available?”… the flux density of solar radiation at Earth’s orbit around the sun is a FIXED VALUE… people need to accept it… And no degree of engineering prowess can alter that fact. No technological leaps can change that. Nothing, short of altering the sun itself, or relocating the orbit of Earth… can alter that… You’re treating this like a PSYCHOLOGY ISSUE. It’s not. It’s a “cost/benefit analysis” issue, plain and simple… It will never become anything more than a “marginal” addition to the overall power generation pool…

The rest of the conversation got nasty, condescending, and increasingly irate. LinkedIn is usually more professional than that, but I had to respond even though I knew it would upset folks further because there were some glaring mistakes and I couldn’t let them be marginalized or dismissed as unrealistic, uneducated, or stupid.
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Hidden Resources – Your Problem or ‘The Ace Up Your Sleeve’

Ace up your sleeve for social or business innovation

One of the tools professional innovators use is the idea of resources. There are always hidden resources within a system (social system, financial systems, and technological system, etc.). Finding those resources and using them in new ways will allow change to take place.

Having said that, there is still a problem – the resources are hidden – as previously stated. The reason they stay hidden is
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