“Our most important innovation is the way we work”
Since innovation is the primary driver of human progress, activities that speed up or improve innovative success have special importance. There are many inputs that can improve innovative performance, including education, government policy, and investments. But ultimately they impact how we work — how we create value for our customers — how we innovate.
Today’s innovative performance is generally poor. It is reminiscent of the terrible manufacturing quality and high cost of products after WW II. But that changed with the pioneering innovations of Deming, Juran, and Ohno and the advent of total quality management (TQM). At first the power of continuous improvement based on fundamental learning and improvement concepts was unappreciated, but over time performance was revolutionized. With TQM, cost and quality have both been transformed, often by hundreds of times compared to the 1950s. Today almost every manufacturing and service enterprise uses some version of TQM. (more…)