These are heady days, with the Olympics and Team GB showcasing how the UK can party with the best of them. I must admit to a few doubts beforehand, with travel and congestion one normally experiences in london being the main concern. But no, it all went swimmingly with superb organisation and much creative flair.
Above all, it was fun - which brings me right back to Deming, the father of quality management and of a statistical approach to manufacturing improvement. In his latter days, Deming came to evangelise the concept of joy in work - a somewhat mystical concept. But perhaps, we may have seen something of what he was trying to say in the organisation of the Olympics, with its volunteers and workers clearly enjoying the experience.
Could we translate this into other workplaces, particularly into manufacturing? How can we get this joy into what may be more mundane, work-a-day environments? Should we focus less on metrics and the statistics of quality improvement and more on a hearts and minds? Quality was always a people and cultural activity first, but somehow, we often don’t get the results we hope for. Wouldn’t it be a great legacy if the London 2012 Olympics somehow inspired UK manufacturing to go for gold with joy in work?
- Editor QMT