I am pleased once again to host John Hunter’s Management Improvement Carnival, featuring some interesting or noteworthy articles that have been posted over the past couple weeks. Be sure to check out previous installations of the Carnival to get a broad sample of the most recent blog posts that are relevant to managers who are interested in quality, innovation and process improvement.
Small is the new big. Sustainable is the new growth. Trust is the new competitive advantage. All of the rules of business have changed, and the seismic shift is both electrifying and frightening. But there are opportunities to be embraced, and many of them are summed up in this HBS blog article entitled Why Small Companies Will Win in This Economy
There is a great post from March 8 by June Holley, talking about self-organizing to achieve systems-level innovation. She notes that because theory is lacking, this process might be protracted, but to get to the point of understanding theory we need some more “real life” examples and case studies of how we self-organize in our organizations well – and not so well.
Is environmentally friendly insulation higher or lower quality? Reflections on the Building Material Emissions Study discuss its outcomes. How we deal with the interplay of quality and social responsibility will become an even greater issue over the next several years as our ability to grow unbounded is checked against the availability of resources – check out this study to see what related studies might be on the horizon.
Sustainability 2.0 Doesn’t Add Up by Samuel Mann is an interesting read, reflecting on the notions of sustainability, social responsibility, psychology, and organizations. I’ve included it here for its broad coverage of some interesting topics and vignettes.
And don’t forget to try out Gmail Autopilot, the newly released utility that will help you autorespond in very meaningful ways to your mundane emails and even your money laundering spam from foreign countries. It’s a technology advancement so advanced it’s unbelievable!
With so much focus on Mumbai this week, Joe Munte’s post on the dabbawallas of Mumbai focuses on a illuminating and positive aspect of the dynamic city that provides lessons for effective management. This is a fascinating story about how a low-tech business built its brand reputation while simultaneously becoming exceedingly efficient. “What started as a service during the British colonial rule has evolved into a brand that symbolizes low cost innovation, teamwork, and brilliance in operational efficiency.” (11-30-2008)
In So What is Lean Six Sigma? Recruiting Lean provides an overview of the LSS approach to problem solving: “LSS is not just for manufacturing. It can be applied to any controlled business process, even complex processes, used regularly and systematically to achieve outcomes.” (11-30-2008)
What do you get when you cross Eric Schmidt (Google) with Gary Hamel (Management Guru)? A blog post by John Hunter reflecting on Management at Google, and featuring a video of Schmidt and Hamel chatting. I am a big fan of Google because they skillfully implement effective, agile quality systems in an environment highly conducive to innovation. I am also a big fan of Gary Hamel because he promotes the need to reinvent our fundamental concepts of management. Seeing both of them together was a treat.
Moritz Gagern at the Climate Policy Library presents Green Investments in Times of Financial Crisis. This is a long post, but definitely worth the reading if you’d like a policy-oriented view of what managers need to start contemplating for the future. Here’s a sample: “Environmental Policy must become the motor for innovations, because in this century ecology will become economy.”
Have you ever been frustrated by all those definitions for quality (e.g. the transcendent “you know it when you see it”, Crosby’s “zero defects”, Juran’s “fitness for use”, or the ISO 8402 definition)? Do you want to make sense of them, and understand how they relate to one another – and what that means for your business? If so, check out my 11-28-2008 description of Mitra’s model at A Dynamic Model of Quality Improvement. This really helped me make sense of all the facets of achieving and improving quality.
Keep it simple! Checklists and Change Programs by Crossderry is a couple months old – but I still like it. It provides a “useful reminder to avoid a common error made when PMOs first implement processes and controls – over-engineering” (10-11-2008)