ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement 2015: Day 1

Every ASQ World Conference gives guests a taste of the local flavor, and, so far, ASQ’s 2015 World Conference on Quality and Improvement in Nashville, Tennessee, has been no different. At the opening reception on Sunday, May 3, a Dolly Parton impersonator and a country band welcomed visitors to the conference and to “music city.”  Naturally, the conference isn’t all fun and games, although a bit of fun is always welcome.

The theme of the 2015 conference is a lofty one: Transforming the world through innovation, inspiration, and leadership. These themes, especially inspiration and innovation, ran through the opening keynote by Shawn Achor, a best-selling author and researcher on positive psychology.

Achor said research shows that happiness is a choice for the human brain, and it’s where we decide to devote our resources that determines our level of happiness.  Happiness is the joy you feel growing toward your potential (not mere pleasure).

In relation to quality and improvement, happiness means striving toward being better and improving our companies and products. It is the opposite of complacency. Happiness isn’t pure optimism, but it’s deciding how to tackle problems and issues. Finally, positivity spreads positivity, even if it’s through very simple, no-cost gestures, such as smiling or making eye contact. A positive culture can be a better culture of quality and improvement.

These themes were also apparent in keynote speaker Dr. Joann’s Sternke’s address. Sternke, the superintendent of the award-winning Pewaukee School District, brought many program improvement and innovations to the school system. From a Baldrige perspective, she touched on themes like innovation and leadership by building a mission-driven culture.

Other notable conference events included:

  • Creative “After 5” sessions on the lighter side of quality, such as juggling and statistics and using music  for quality-based innovation.
  • The exhibit hall, home to the popular ASQ Center which has many icebreaker and networking games and opportunities: a giant Jenga game, a photo booth with goofy accessories, a photo opportunity with life-size quality guru portraits, and a live twitter feed (hashtag #WCQI15).
  • Quality impact sessions/live team case studies by finalists in ASQ’s International Team Excellence Awards process. Of course, that’s not even touching on the dozens of information-packed concurrent sessions.

Events on the lineup for Tuesday, May 5:

  • A keynote by entrepreneur and author Margaret Heffernan, 8 a.m.-9 .m.
  • A keynote by Charles Best, founder and CEO of donorschoose.com, 1:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m.
  • The exhibit hall extravaganza, 2:15-3:45, with many giveaways, prizes, and entertainment.
  • And, of course, the networking reception (ticket required), 7 p.m. – 9 p.m., in the Delta Island.

5 Tips On Making the Most of ASQ's World Conference

[This is a guest post by Julia McIntosh of ASQ’s communications department.]

Just as last year, we’ve received some great tips and advice from ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers on “surviving”–and making the most of–conferences and events. This may come in handy if you’re attending ASQ’s upcoming World Conference on Quality and Improvement in Dallas May 5-7, or any other professional events.  If you are going to the World Conference, be sure to follow the events on Twitter with hashtag #WCQI14. And if you are not attending, you can stream the keynotes live this year, which is a great e-learning opportunity.

Now, on to the advice!

1. Prepare and follow up. Do research on relevant sessions and speakers before the conference and follow up with new contacts afterward, says ASQ blogger Tim McMahon.

2. Take photos! ASQ blogger Lotto Lai suggests taking lots of photos so you have a souvenir and a reminder of what you’ve learned and who you’ve met.

3. Talk PDCA and root cause. ASQ blogger Jennifer Stepniowski notes that you can “talk shop” with conference-goers. Where else can you chat about quality with the person in the Starbucks line? Take advantage of this opportunity!

4. Follow the conference on social media. That’s the advice of Influential Voices blogger Bob Mitchell. This year again, there will be a live Twitter feed at the World Conference in the exhibit hall. And, we’ll be live tweeting keynote speeches and live blogging about daily events (as mentioned above, you can live stream the keynotes and follow the conversation on Twitter. Hashtag is #WCQI14).

5.  Keep your schedule full. You should always have something going on at the conference, says ASQ blogger Dan Zrymiak. Attend the “must see” events but make time for sessions and speakers outside your industry. You’ll learn a lot.

Do you want to share your conference advice? Leave a comment on this blog or email social@asq.org. We’ll compile feedback in a future blog post.

Last Day of ASQ's World Conference: End With Energy

[This is a guest post by Julia McIntosh of ASQ’s communications department.]

It may be the last day of ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement, but there was no shortage of energy this morning.

The closing session of the conference began with a parade of International Team Excellence Award finalists. Think cheers, country flags, whistles, and pride in teamwork!

Parade of teams

Before the award winners were announced, conference-goers took in a final keynote by Sally Hogshead, who spoke about how to make oneself fascinating.

Key takeaway: We’re used to analyzing how we see the world. But in today’s rapid and evolving environment, what matters is how people see us. When we fascinate others, we start opening doors.

Other takeaways:

  • To fascinate, you don’t have to change. You have to become more of who you already are.
  • The human attention span is now nine seconds. That’s your gateway to fascinate.
  • There are seven primary personality triggers and 49 personality archetypes.
  • Conference-goers had a chance to take the personality assessment, and results were shown at the keynote. The number-one personality archetype in the ASQ crowd was the Maestro (ambitious, admired, and focused). Next most common personality was the Victor (respected, competitive, results-oriented), and then the Vault (analytical, discreet, understated).
  • In order to be successful, you don’t have to be successful in the traditional way. You have to be distinct.

And now….the 2013 International Team Excellence Award winners!

  • Quality impact storyboard awards winners: Third place: Reliance Industries Limited, Hazira team. Second place: Baxter Healthcare Corporation team. First place: Yanfeng Visteon Automotive Electronics Co., Ltd. team.
  • Bronze Level Winners: Continental Guadalajara team. Oshkosh Defense team. Pruksa Real Estate Public Company Limited Valuable Engineer Team.
  • Silver Level Winners: Telefonica de Argentina team. Pruksa Real Estate Public Company Limited QCI Team.

Congratulations to all!

And we hope you had a fantastic time at ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement 2013! What did you like? What’s your feedback? Tell us in the comments. And we hope to see you next year in Dallas, Texas, May 5-7, 2014.

See also:

ASQ World Conference Day 1: The Science of Motivation and Much More

[This is a guest post by Julia McIntosh of ASQ’s communications department.]

Welcome to Day 1 of ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement! First thing conference-goers thought of this morning was: What motivates you?

That was the theme of the opening keynote by Daniel Pink, who spoke about the science behind motivation. Key takeaway: Self-direction, autonomy, mastery and purpose are the real motivators in the 21st century.

Other key points.

  • Rewards are great for simple, short-term tasks. Not so great for complex, creative and long-term tasks.
  • Short-term motivators have outlived their use for 21st century work. Dr. Deming figured this out years ago.
  • Fact: Money is a motivator—it’s the standard of normal fairness. Pay enough to take issue of money off the table.
  • Besides money, the three key motivators are autonomy, mastery and purpose.
  • The technology for engagement isn’t management, but self-direction over time, tasks, team, and technique.
  • Hire good people and get out of their way. Autonomy is the pathway to accountability.
  • Every person in an organization is sitting on a process improvement–and no one’s ever asked them.

In the afternoon, Karen Martin, president of The Karen Martin Group and Shingo Prize-winning author of The Outstanding Organization, tackled the disconnect between quality professionals and the C-suite. Key takeaway: Quality professionals must take  steps to bridge the gap by becoming teachers and coaches in their organizations.

Other key takeaways:

  • Quality professionals don’t think of themselves as sales people. But the executive is the quality professional’s customer. It’s a matter of being able to speak the same language.
  • Find wasted efforts in your company. Get rid of clutter. Talk to your executive about the quality department’s goals.
  • Become a teacher in your organization. Become part of an army of problem-solvers. Become a coach.
  • Empower people to see and resolve problems. Quality professionals are natural problem solvers.

Monday was a hopping day at the conference! A few additional highlights:

  • Quality impact sessions/live team case studies by International Team Excellence Award finalists.
  • A buzzing exhibit hall and ASQ Center. Did you know that you can have a complimentary professional photo taken for your LinkedIn profile and resumes? Look for a mini photo studio in the back of the exhibit hall.
  • Book signings by the keynote and featured speakers.
  • “After 5” sessions on “lighter” topics, such as Yoga at Your Desk and using 5S de-clutter your life .

And coming on Tuesday, May 7:

  • Keynote speaker Jamais Cascio and featured speaker James Melton.
  • Career fair in the exhibit hall.
  • Unveiling of the Global State of Quality research.
  • Exhibit hall extravaganza.
  • Be sure to catch a quality impact session by the Team Excellence finalists if you haven’t already.

As always, you can see all details on the ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement site. And remember, the conference Twitter hashtag is #WCQI13.