The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Archive for the ‘systems thinking’ Category

Leadership and the New Science

Leadership and the New Science: Learning about Organizations from an Orderly Universe by Margaret Wheatley does a good job of exploring how to view organizations as a system. A quote by Meg Wheatley from an interview long after the publication of the book does a good job of capturing the ideas explored in the book: […]

Understanding Data is Often Challenging

Using data to understand the system and validate our theories and successful improvements is an important part managing well. In some cases it is fairly easy to understand and collect data that provides a clear and accurate measure of what we care about. But getting data that helps can also be very challenging. Creating a […]

Finding Joy In Learning: Applying Deming’s Theory to Schools

Presentation by Michael King and Jane Kovacs at the 2015 Deming in Education conference – Finding Joy In Learning: Applying Deming’s Theory to Schools. The speakers work for Quality Learning Australasia (QLA). QLA’s website has quite a bit of useful information. One of the tools they used in the presentation is a Lotus diagram which […]

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 […]