ORLANDO-The 2007 ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement, “Fueling Innovation Through People and Quality,” April 30 to May 2, offered attendees a chance to learn from experts and other quality professionals.
Adam Kahane, founding partner of Generon Consulting, spoke during the first
session about “Creating Breakthrough Innovation in Complex Contexts.”
In the early 1990s, Kahane was working for Royal Dutch/Shell in London, and
thought he would retire as an oil executive. This was disrupted when the
company sent him-the youngest and most junior member of the staff-to South
Africa to facilitate the country’s transition to democracy. His life changed
dramatically, as he fell in love with the country and the people, including one
particular person: the project manager. “You can really only do this with one
or two projects,” Kahane joked.
Kahane has worked in more than 50 countries, and explained problem-solving
techniques that could be applied to a range of situations, whether it was a
peace project in Guatemala or a Fortune 500 company.
Other key speakers included Dan Korem and Jim Carroll. Korem, president of
Korem & Associates, provided a session on “The Art of Profiling: Treating
People Right the First Time and Delivering Results.” Video clips gave attendees
a chance to profile and determine if someone was more like General Schwarzkopf
or Mister Rogers, for example. Auditors and those between 19 and 26 years old
will be happy to know that they often have the best track record when first
profiling, Korem says.
The second day’s sessions began with Carroll, an international futurist, trends
and innovation expert, describing our rapidly changing world. For example, his
son described 35-millimeter film as something from “the olden days,” which
illustrates how quickly our world is changing, and how product life cycles are
This era of rapid change offers opportunities for growth, as well as for error.
Therefore, Carroll predicts that quality experts will become more
niche-oriented to combat this changing world.