The emphasis on focus has been reinforced by the late Steve Jobs, who applied this to execute upon his vision. This validates that a focus can work globally to create value and innovation globally.
The two examples included in View from the Q, Volvo and Ikea, reflect Scandinavian ingenuity and innovation, and actually contrast the conventional approach popularized in the USA culture.
The reputation and appearance of the Volvo was the object of satirical farce in the Dudley Moore movie, Crazy People, where he made an advertising campaign around the perceived image.
In a similar tone, the culture of obtaining ready-to-assemble furniture is synonymous with a particular demographic. With the change in economic stature of the typical home dweller, the appeal of inexpensive and durable furniture cannot be underestimated. Even mildly damaged merchandise obtained from the "As-Is" section of the store is superior to many alternatives.
So is there such a thing as a Scandinavian Quality Model? It is worth investigating, particularly since the combined per capita income of citizens in these countries is well above the global average. The Economist magazine praised the Nordic Model in this recent article. Based on the performance of its leading companies, we in North America have much to learn and benchmark from our European counterparts.
According to Juran Quality Handbook, 5th Edition (1998, McGraw Hill), Sweden in particular benchmarked its national quality award on the American model, while the American Customer Satisfaction Index was inspired by it Swedish equivalent.
"In 1990, the Swedish Quality Institute was formed to run the Swedish Quality Award (1992), which is based on the Malcolm Baldrige model. In the business world, the wave of privatization at the beginning of the 1990s encouraged the spread of TQM. Certification is also strongly promoted, especially in Denmark. All Scandinavian nations pay particular attention to the quality of services, most notably in health care, and to environmental quality. Sweden takes a special interest in customer satisfaction issues, at both the academic level and in practical applications. It was the first country to introduce a national customer satisfaction observatory the Swedish Customer Satisfaction Barometer (SCSB), which was created in 1989 and was the model for the American Customer Satisfaction Index formed in 1994. The SCSB monitors customer satisfaction in a number of industries and individual corporations within those industries. It has five objectives:
1. To compare industries
2. To compare individual firms with the industry average
3. To make comparisons over time
4. To predict long-term performance
5. To answer specific questions"