Preparing for the Future of Quality

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“What is quality for the future? Imagine a future where quality is an essential connector—a framework and network—for developing and advancing capabilities to create a better world and society.” ~Cecilia Kimberlin (2015 ASQ Chair)

Love it!

Over the holiday weekend, I finally had a few extra moments to dig into the 2015 Future of Quality Report. It’s been sitting on my desktop teasing me for weeks! I’m also putting together a little summary for others in my organization.  It’s not enough that we read it… We need to share it.

A recent View from the Q post is also talking about the Future of Quality Report.  Laurel Nelson-Rowe provides a great summary of the general themes you’ll find in this report. I do like the new format. The essays break up the content and make for an engaging read.

Of all the topics discussed, there’s one general theme that resonated with me. Based on what the future of quality is expected to be, it’s among the most important as well: “To prepare for this challenging and exciting future, change is needed in how we develop quality professionals and how quality is integrated into professional development overall. The role of quality professionals will evolve so that they are partners, collaborators, and leaders, not only technical specialists.”

So, how do we do we change and develop quality professionals? What do you think?

Currently, ASQ’s “Quality Training” focuses on certification, lean, quality management, six sigma and standards.  We can start by emphasizing the importance of soft skill development, such as leadership and communication… Not just with specialized training, but also within our industry communications in general.  The voice of quality should further develop and support quality professionals so they are ready to step into the roles we anticipate in the future.

As quickly as I thought about a division dedicated to this purpose, I noticed there’s already a Human Development & Leadership division within ASQ. They may have some interesting insight here as well. I’m interested to learn more about their role and mission within the association.

However you look at it, the future of quality as laid out in the report is bright.  I think Deming and others would be pleased to see how quality is evolving. It’s up to us as quality professionals to create it! 

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