2019

UP FRONT

Picking Up Pace

Weathering gale-force winds of change

We’ve all had these conversations, and yet they never fail to blow your mind:

  • "When I was young, we didn’t have a [color TV, VCR, microwave, computer, etc.]."
  • "Remember ‘bag’ phones?"
  • "Remember having to go to the library to research a paper—then typing it on a typewriter?"

Rotary phones with cords, Atari and satellite dishes the size of sedans all fall into the category of technologies that have been replaced by newer, better, faster and more efficient options.

And now more than ever, being on the young end of the age spectrum doesn’t exclude you from such experiences. Even those who knew how to use a computer mouse before they could speak or spell have seen drastic changes in their lifetimes. Technology and its adoption, the methods we can use to communicate more efficiently and do our jobs better—it’s all changing.

One particular graphic published in the New York Times shows the increasing pace of technology adoption during the last century (www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/02/10/opinion/10op.graphic.ready.html).

The graphic appeared in 2008 and shows how long it took people to adopt early technologies, such as the telephone, the refrigerator or the washer and dryer. In general, it’s decades or longer. Imagine what it would look like if applied to present-day technologies and gadgets, such as tablets or smartphones? Nearly everyone has at least one of these items, and the revolution in their adoption occurred near-instantaneously in comparison.

So sets the stage for the results of ASQ’s newly released Future of Quality study. In "Around the Bend," Assistant Editor Brett Krzykowski summarizes the key forces that emerged that will shape the landscape of quality. The full 44-page report, and other ways to spark or continue similar conversations in your own organization, can be found at http://asq.org/about-asq/how-we-do/futures-study.html.

Another theme in this month’s issue focuses on Six Sigma’s ability to sustain change, survive, adapt and evolve.

Three articles touch on how to keep Six Sigma from dying, how to adapt your organization’s use of Six Sigma to individual circumstances, and how to gauge your Six Sigma program’s maturity and progress to keep moving forward. In a world of constant change, knowledge is key.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders
Editor


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