The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Archive for the ‘systems thinking’ Category

Exploring Complex Problems Using Systems Thinking

Cornell Policy Review published a special issue exploring the application of systems thinking to public policy problems. Graduate students were given an introduction to systems thinking and then applied the concepts to address issues their field. Students applied systems thinking to a wide array of problems, and they reported finding DSRP [distinctions, systems, relationships, and […]

Specification-based Management is Not Sufficient

Guest post by Bill Bellows (originally written as a comment about the question of how Dr. Deming viewed six sigma). While Dr. Deming was known for his appreciation of continuous improvement, he was also know for encouraging us to think of variation and improvement from a systems perspective. As such, I do not believe he […]

Minimize Total Cost

End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust. Point 4 in Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s 14 Points for Management This point is one of the less controversial points (at least […]

The Schools Our Children Deserve by Alfie Kohn

Alfie Kohn starts with an excellent discussion his fear of applying business improvement ideas in the education setting. …And yet, Dr. Deming’s work offered some principles at an abstract level that when pulled out of a workplace context turn out to be equally revolutionary, powerful, and constructive in virtually any other kind of environment, including […]

Systems Thinking: Feedback Loops

Appreciation for a system is one of the four components of Deming’s management system. In this context the most common item to think of is Deming’s diagram of an organization as a system. That is a powerful diagram. When thinking of appreciation for a system within the Deming context the view of the organization as […]

True North Can Really Be “Management by Results” in Disguise

Guest post by Mike Stoecklein I hear a lot of talk in healthcare about the importance of defining “true north” for the organization. If you search the internet, you’ll find many definitions of true north and examples from organizations. Here are a few (all are from healthcare organizations): The company’s governing objective. Example given: deliver […]

Institute Leadership

Point 7 in Dr. Deming’s 14 obligations of management: Institute leadership (see point 12 and Chapter 8 in Out of the Crisis). The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers. […]

Lean Blog Podcast with Kevin Cahill

Lean Blog Podcast #238 – Kevin Cahill, on his Grandfather, W. Edwards Deming (download). Quote from Kevin in the podcast: Somebody at any level does have some sphere of influence that they can impact… by just thinking from a systems standpoint, by looking at the organization differently than some of the other folks who view […]