Browsing the archives for the asq tag.

Quality Tools for Critical Thinking & K-12 STEM Success


This will be my first year attending ASQ’s annual Quality Education Conference & Workshop.  I’ve had a lot of fun volunteering and working with the Education Division, so I have no doubt the event will be exceed expectations.

I submitted to speak this time because I wanted to share some insight I’ve gained as someone who has instructed sessions related to critical thinking in the workforce. But, I’ve also used these quality tools as a parent and have done a fair amount of research related to importance of critical thinking & decision-making as it relates to STEM success. I’m excited to have been chosen and am in the process of polishing my presentation.

Critical thinking allows us to use our own creativity and curiosity to research, design test and improve solutions.  “Critical thinking is a skill that is impossible to teach directly but must be intertwined with content.” ~Christodoulou

Highlights of my presentation include:

  • Critical Thinking & STEM: Making the Connection
  • Keys to Success
  • Games & Activities
  • Applied Tools
    • Affinity Diagrams
    • Fishbone Diagrams
    • Six Thinking Hats
    • Mind Mapping
    • Grid Analysis
  • Additional Resources

If you’re interested in QECW, check out the site here. Bill Troy, ASQ’s CEO is just one keynote I’m looking forward to. And, the other speakers and their sessions will be hard to choose from. This will be my first conference volunteering also, so I’m leveling up on the fun!


Comments Off on Quality Tools for Critical Thinking & K-12 STEM Success

Video: Quality for Life & Me…


For all the times I’ve stood up and encouraged people to challenge themselves and stretch their comfort levels, I must announce a person win.

My SWOT analysis consistently reveals a weakness related to my video presence. Somewhat surprising is that I’d say public speaking is a strength, but that camera changes everything. I’m told it’s quite an entertaining sight to see.

Long story short, I’ve responded to ASQ’s call for participants to share stories for a few years now. And, each year I’ve found that my expectations of looking like someone physically suffering have materialized.  Each year, I’ve requested they don’t post the video even before I saw the final copy.

Not this year.

I decided to give the video thing another try this year at WCQI because, why not? I had a message I wanted to share and a personal obstacle to overcome.

It surprises me that I forgot about the video, but I did… A friend recently texted a link to none other than myself looking mostly normal on the ASQ site.  I’m so excited to be able to share this information in a format I challenged myself to improve in. Yay.

Quality for Life: Using Quality Tools in Your Personal Life

Comments Off on Video: Quality for Life & Me…

World Quality Month 2015… Wooooo


Yup… Brace yourself. Quality Month is coming.

I take World Quality Month pretty seriously for a few good reasons. The best reason is that it gives me an opportunity to talk about what I love, which is also what I do.  For those of us working in quality, we know all too well that folks outside the circle don’t necessarily understand what quality really is, or what the people working in the industry do.  We have tools that makes things better.  We should share them.

Throughout November, I take the opportunity to let quality shine. Last year in our local section, we hosted a picnic celebration in lieu of our regular monthly meeting. There were quality giveaways and fun activities that made the day really special.  The best part was seeing the families of the members that attended.  That was special.

This year, the Section 1508 Board has a few ideas in mind.  I’m looking forward to presenting as an introduction. I want to use some of the facts and other resources ASQ has posted to share with our local members.  And, I’m hoping to engage in some fun quality bingo or quality trivia and have prizes and raffles. Who doesn’t love prizes and raffles? One of the Board members suggested “I Love Quality” temporary tattoos… Win.

In addition to the local section activities, I’m organizing stuff for work. I’m in an interesting spot here because I work for a quality services provider. So, my audience is much larger than our team. I’m able to extend the message to our client base via email, blog posts, etc.  I don’t use it as an opportunity to sell. Rather, it is a genuine attempt to share the resources and spread the word.  I will say we’ll likely be offering special promotions on services too though. That’s just the marketer in me, so it had to be done. I am also working on organizing some special lunch celebrations in our offices throughout the world.  I’d like to get some pics and share them among our global team.  World Quality Month connects us.

I’m wanting to at least post something to Facebook a few times throughout the month.  I love quality quotes, so I’ll probably use those across my personal social media network.  Oh, a quality quote overlaid on a kitty pic for Facebook.  Hmmmm.  People would read that, no doubt.

LinkedIn is really the perfect place to share this stuff. I’m hoping to directly post something to my feed and also see what’s going on in the groups.

For real though, I’m getting psyched. I was excited to see this month’s View from the Q post is asking for ideas and suggestions. I’m looking forward to reading the other Influential Voice’s posts and general comments. Starting in October, I’m also looking forward to participating in the photo contest again… #quality2030. Let’s do this!

PS: I made a word search and crossword a few years ago.  Access them here (Word SearchCrossword), and challenge yourself and/or your team. In 2013, I did “30 Days of Quality.” Use mine, or create your own.



Comments Off on World Quality Month 2015… Wooooo

Preparing for the Future of Quality


“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! 





1 Comment

Ensuring Future STEM Professionals: Involvement is Key!


STEM has certainly surpassed buzzword status.  A few years ago, you’d likely have to expand on the acronym by adding Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, but it’s almost an insult now to assume people don’t know what’s up.  That tells me efforts to increase awareness are working!

My first exposure to STEM education and the related workforce issues came from the ASQ community, my own difficulty finding engineers for work projects, and then later when I had children of my own and saw things from an entirely different perspective.

This month’s View From the Q  via ASQ incorporates some great ideas for “Ensuring the Next Generation of STEM Professionals.”  I have a few more to add and/or expand on:

School Involvement (Individual & Organizations)

Both my son and daughter are in elementary school.  Last year, I worked with the principal to recognize and support Manufacturing Day. I did the same for Hour of Code and think both raised awareness and generated interest among students and parents.  It took very little effort, and the school welcomed the idea. Outside of this, the school’s STEM focus was the county science fair requirements that are unfortunately perceived as more of a chore than an enriching experience.  I think most institutions just need a seed planted to be able to further support the effort.

Action: Email and/or call the schools and ask them if they’re doing anything for Manufacturing Day, Hour of Code, or what else they’re doing to support STEM education.

Having some experience with the Middleton Magnet High School STEM Advisory Board, I know at that level they even go as far as scheduling manufacturing visits, engaging local speakers and hosting events.  Our local ASQ chapter has participated in a few of these and continues to support their efforts.  As a “pre-collegiate academy for STEM,” Middleton welcomes local organizations to join their Advisory Board and are very good at responding to the needs of the community.  There are so many ways parents and local businesses can get involved in schools like this to make a difference.

Action: Encourage employers to get involved with STEM schools by supporting internships, volunteer hours, various events, etc.  

Parent Support 

Scheduling for summer or whenever school is out is a challenge.  If the kids are going to be out of school, I want them involved in something fun and stimulating.  To support STEM education, I continue to schedule camps at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) .  Over the years, my kids have learned how to program video games, design and use 3D printing technology and even design and build robots.  They have so much fun, and the cost is reasonable.  MOSI, and many of the other STEM related school-break camps (like FLATE) have scholarships available as well.  Supporting places like MOSI also keeps them in business where they are able to make a significant impact in the community!

Action: Don’t count on schools to be the only source of STEM education. To really stimulate a kid’s interest in these fields, get them into camps that let them do the stuff hands-on and hang out with other kids that are interested in similar things.  

Oh, have your older kid take What’s Your STEM Type? to match careers or otherwise assess their skills and aptitude.  They’ll likely find a niche that gets them over the “it’s too hard” hurdle.  Or, they’ll realize a career opportunity they hadn’t thought of.

Action: Help our youth realize the benefits of entering STEM fields… Show them their options and allow them to assess their natural aptitude.  There are usually local events hosted by the colleges that allow students to speak with engineers and others in STEM fields.  USF just held their annual Engineering Expo that I heard great things about! These activities support their own enthusiasm and drive which is the foundation of success.

Some additional education resources include:

Khan Academy – Also check out Salman Khan’s TED talk related to STEM education and the creation of this how-to video library.

TED Ed  – I love these for the “car line” in the morning. They also give you everything you need to get a club started at school if time and resources exist.


Last summer, I volunteered for a Girl Scout STEM camp as a SWE representative. That was a fun (and exhausting) few hours! My employer supported it, and I had an opportunity to make a difference.  We know we need more girls engaged with STEM, and the Girl Scouts are on their way towards fully integrating this goal.  (Organizations like FLATE, as mentioned previously, offer girls-only camps as well.)

Each year, there’s the National Teach-In where many schools invite people in from the community to discuss what they do.  It’s both rewarding and fun to participate in this event. Even if you’re not directly in a STEM field, perspective from any position in an organization providing STEM related products/services is beneficial. I work in marketing for a 3rd party quality control organization.  I like to introduce students to the importance of quality and the engineers that are so important to that process.

Action: There are all kinds of ways you can volunteer to support and encourage kids to enter and succeed in STEM fields. It’s worth the time. It’s everyone’s job to ensure the long-term sustainability of our workforce.

1 Comment
« Older Posts