There is More to Quality than Continuous Improvement: Listening to Plato

Quality Management Journal vol. 12 issue 1 - January 2005

Abstract: [This abstract is based on the authors' abstract.]Continuous improvement programs that view quality in a quantitative manner are adequate for incremental improvement of processes, products, and services in an existing technological environment. However, breakthrough improvement that results in paradigm-shifting technologies requires a transcendent view of quality. An approach to quality, based on Plato's four-stage divided line model, is appropriate for developing radical innovations. Organizations that focus exclusively on continuous improvement are operating at Plato's understanding level and may fail to profit from the paradigm-shifting innovations developed by organizations operating at Plato's insight level. Operating at Plato's insight level becomes vital to an organization's success as technology becomes more complex and product life cycles shorten.

Keywords: Breakthrough improvement - Design for six sigma (DFSS) - Paradigm - Quality philosophy - Quality function deployment (QFD) - Quality improvement (QI) - Quality management principles - Quality control methodology

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