By John Hunter, founder of CuriousCat.com.
In this Deming podcast Ravi Roy discusses teaching Deming’s ideas at Southern Utah University. (download the podcast). Dr. Roy is Professor of Public Administration for Southern Utah University and a Research Fellow with The Deming Institute.
He is currently working to create the Deming Incubator for Public Affairs at Southern Utah University in cooperation with The W. Edwards Deming Institute.
Echoing the Deming Scholars program at Fordham University (which ended several years ago) the incubator will have students serving internships at organizations where they can learn about Deming’s ideas as practiced in organizations. I always found that effort by the Deming Scholars program to integrate learning with application in organizations to be a very wise move (including the iterative nature with 4 internships interspersed during the MBA program).
This Deming Incubator project seems to be following a similar path. Ravi mentions that he is teaching a course with project based learning course. This reminds me of the courses my father taught through the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement at the University of Wisconsin in the 1980’s (in partnership with the UW Business School and the Statistics Department) which were project based (the students applied the ideas in their organization and iterated based on the continued learning from the course and the evidence from their experiments).
The incubator will begin with graduate level students but the intention is to expand to include undergraduate education over time (and some undergraduate students already take course now). The courses is available as face to face and online courses.
While Deming’s name in ways is a household name within for example, areas like business administration and public administration there seems to be a kind of misunderstanding of exactly what is important about Deming.
I like this quote. He is exactly right. It seems for the most part what is easiest to fit in the existing framework of how things are done without making people uncomfortable (especially people with power, executives etc.) are what are discussed and considered for adoption. Transformation of how we think and operate isn’t easy and so if some ideas are considered for adoption they are watered down in such a way as to require no significant change in how people operate (especially at the executive level).
To bring about profound changes requires quite a bit of knowledge, skill and effort. Hopefully some of those reading this blog are engaged in those efforts now and hopefully we are helping. It is not an easy task. The Deming Incubator program will hopefully be creating more people with the knowledge, skill and desire to bring about more transformation. Together we can make a difference.
Related: Getting an Early Appreciation for Deming’s Ideas – Doing More with Less in the Public Sector – Improving Engineering Education