Exponential Quality 2.0

Improvement Insights Blog

Exponential Quality 2.0

The keynote speaker at ASQ World Conference on Quality Improvement reiterated the exponential change challenge. It’s critical to quality professionals everywhere. Here’s what he said:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma for Hospitals” and the QI Macros [software].

“I was at the ASQ World Conference in scenic Fort Worth, and oddly enough they had the same keynote speaker they had at the Lean Six Sigma conference in February in Phoenix. Now, I don’t know if ASQ is trying to save money by getting a bulk deal or if they’re trying to send out this message. This guy was talking about how business is changing exponentially, right – not glacially, exponentially. He said that 40% of S&P 500 companies will not be around in 2026. That’s a huge death rate of new businesses, right? (existing businesses, rather).

“I’m afraid that Quality is not moving very fast. We’re moving glacially, not exponentially. Maybe that’s the message that ASQ is trying to send. One of the examples that he gives is that it took seven years to decode the first one percent of the genome and all the people were saying, “Well, it’ll take us seven hundred years to get the rest of them,” but Ray Kurzweil, a futurist, said “No, we’re almost there.” They asked him “When do you think it will be done?” He said “About seven years.” It was about six and a half [years later that] they completely decoded the rest of the genome.

“That’s exponential, right? It’s not this “incremental improvements” nonsense that we talk about all the time, it’s exponential improvement. It’s like “Whoa!”

“I want you to think about that; we need to accelerate how the Quality business works. We can’t use 20th century Quality techniques in the 21st century because everything’s moving so fast that we cannot possibly keep up. Maybe our companies can’t survive unless we get really fast and then we might cut that 40% death rate to 20%. I don’t know, but I think that we have to get in front of this, and in the next videos I’ll talk about some of the ways we can go about that.

“I’m Jay Arthur. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”