By John Hunter, founder of CuriousCat.com.
Every year the American Statistical Association (ASA) selects an honoree to present a Deming Lecture at their annual conference.
The 2009 ASA Deming Lecture by J. Stuart Hunter, Princeton University: the first part of the lecture (20 minutes) is a historical look at W. Edwards Deming’s career and then it looks at the future of statistics.
Stu starts off the lecture talking about how he would pick up Dr. Deming from the train station and take him home when Dr. Deming came to Princeton University. He talked about how kind Dr. Deming was and the joy he took in playing with Stu’s kids. And he continued with how Dr. Deming’s demeanor was quite different in a professional setting where he would challenge those presenting. I think this pattern of a kind person who was very demanding on those with power and responsibility (whether they be professions, executives or CEOs).
Stu also talks about W. Edwards Deming work during World War II for the war effort. He talks about his efforts to encourage the adoption of Stewart’s statistical methods to improve quality during that time.
He discussed the successful efforts in post war Japan to create quality products and the struggles to do so in the post war USA. And then he mentions the 1980 broadcast of If Japan Can… Why Can’t We and the enormous impact that had in bringing quality management practices to the forefront in the USA.
His message was, you can’t blame the worker for the lack of quality, the person responsible for the lack of quality in the United States of American by golly are the managers – and he just chewed the managers out something fierce.
Stu is not related to me (in case you were wondering) but he did co-author Statistics for Experimenters with my father (Bill Hunter) and George Box.
Learn more about the ASA Deming Lecture committee including past lectures (including: Brian Joiner, Noriaki Kano, George Box, Gerald Hahn and Donald Berwick) and a nomination form on the ASA web site.
Related: The Art of Discovery (Lecture by George Box) – The Development of Deming’s Management System – Interview with Masaaki Imai