The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

Posts Tagged ‘systems thinking’

Curiosity, Learning, Knowledge, and Improvement with Tim Higgins

Tim Higgins provided the Deming 101 presentation at our 2016 annual conference – Curiosity, Learning, Knowledge, and Improvement: Tim starts off by saying that some people think Deming’s life was about variation but Deming’s purpose for understanding variation was to learn. This insight is wise. Quotes are useful to provide focus but that can also […]

Using Checklists to Reduce Process Variation and Improve Results

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande is a wonderful book about how to create systems that work. At the core the Checklist Manifesto is about determining the critical process conditions and creating a system to assure that the those process items are properly handled. In the book Atul Gawande paraphrases Daniel Boorman, veteran pilot who […]

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: […]

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 […]

Using Deming’s Ideas Today to Promote Trust and Meaningful Work

Joshua Macht wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review (published in June) : The Management Thinker We Should Never Have Forgotten. In that article he explores the importance of Dr. Deming’s ideas today. He quotes from the response W. Edwards Deming sent Peter Senge on his book, and which Senge included in his introduction […]

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 […]

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 […]