MILWAUKEE, WI - Business, industry and nongovernmental organization leaders addressed quality opportunities and crises in the 21st century in a dialogue, hosted by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and the Baldrige National Quality Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD.

More than 20 participants, from organizations such as Best Buy, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Pfizer, identified priority areas where quality and performance improvement can achieve the greatest effect and foster positive change.

"The impact of quality and organizational performance excellence on the future of businesses, industry, healthcare, and education is a critical area for discussion and action," says Paul Borawski, ASQ executive director and chief strategic officer. "The outcomes of the Future of Quality Dialogue will help ASQ shape strategic direction and priorities for our members now and in the years ahead."

The four priority areas include:

  • Emphasize strategic relevance and contribution to long-term sustainability: Ensure that performance excellence and quality systems stay relevant to an organization and move it toward long-term sustainability. Further, quality and organizational performance excellence should move from the past and current information-informational technologies to active engagement technologies for greater awareness, acceptance, relevance and impact.

  • Connect with innovation: For businesses and society, the relationship between innovation and quality is unclear; it must be understood and leveraged.

  • Increase public awareness and brand value: The need to significantly boost public awareness through branding of quality and performance excellence exists. Opportunities to create a rock star or new guru of quality; heroes and storytellers; individuals; public organizations; or communities using social networking and developing other strategies will give quality and performance excellence a valuable public face. This is achieved when the consumers understand the importance of quality and how quality has an impact in what they buy, as well as through social media and through quality professionals becoming involved outside the quality community.

  • Utilize information technology and the movement to engagement technology and tools: From the work force, to the customer, use information technology and the explosion of engagement tools as multidirectional, multiple sources of information and transferable knowledge. Share data, strategies and practices that are successful, and that change mind-sets and behavior. Information-gathering must move to knowledge transfer and engagement, which, in turn, should affect behaviors that spread and place a heightened, premium value on quality and performance excellence.

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