About This Blog

A QualitEvolution is intended to capture positions and experiences as a participant in the evolution of the Quality profession into the 21st century. From its origins as the brainchild of Corporate Industrial Statisticians, our profession has transformed and evolved to incorporate and adapt to the demands and expectations of our modern existence.

The scope of the subject matter within A QualitEvolution extends to the furthest ranges of quality, business transformation, management science, and quality issues especially pertinent to the members of ASQ in Canada.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Encounters with a Quality Guru

At the recent World Conference in Anaheim, one of the themes at ASQ addressed the impact and influence of the "Quality Gurus" on our profession.  As my initial posting, I thought that it might be enjoyable to share my personal experiences with one of the individuals designated as a Quality Guru.

Just over 11 years ago, I had the rare fortune to be selected by ASQ as a recipient of the Dr. Armand V. Feigenbaum Medal.  This is one of the National Awards provided by ASQ to individuals under the age of 35 as a recognition for various accomplishments in professional, academic, and personal achievement.  As an alumnus of this program, I encourage any young practitioner to investigate and pursue this opportunity as the fortunate candidate.

To our great honor, Dr. Feigenbaum (Vallin) and his brother Dr. Feigenbaum (Donald) were in attendance at the World Conference in 2001.  I had the pleasure to meet both of them and introduce them to my wife.  In turn, they were both charming and courtly, with gentlemanly manners reflective of a bygone era.  One of the charms of the Quality Guru era consists of the elegant etiquette that was regularly observed during the middle of the 20th century, but which seems to have all but vanished in our modern age.

A surprising revelation is that Dr. Feigenbaum did not personally consider himself as a Quality Guru.  He felt that as a management scientist, his work was objective and based on calculated facts and objective evidence.  A Guru was more appropriate for an esoteric and mystical body of knowledge.  However being a humble and gracious man, Dr. Feigenbaum did not object to the categorization, which he considered complimentary.

As we continue the evolution of our profession, we must not deify our past practitioners, but respect them by following their wisdom and examples, and conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of their influence.