Nov 14, 2010

Global Influential Voices - Conversations on Overcoming Crises - Big Yellow Taxis and Can ASQ Beat the Race to the Bottom

I've been updating my Facebook page - moving it beyond just family and school friends as colleagues wanted to friend me. So I've created some lists including an engineering / quality management list - which includes Quality bodies such as ISO & ASQ. I've been following both of them on Twitter but wasn't so sure about Facebook - but more professional bodies seem to be moving beyond their webpages into LinkedIn and then over to Facebook, Twitter, RSS & YouTube. Time had come to make some lists.

I'm in manufacturing and I've been a member of online digital global communities for about 15 years now in Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 worlds. And I continue to be delighted at the generosity of my buddies across the world. I've learned so much from them and been happy to share in return across my professional and community involvements.

My professional world stretches from product quality control to ISO 9001 Quality Management to Records Management to Knowledge Management to Forensic Engineering to Safety Management. I've really needed to learn from others in a more informal way, especially in the Global Financial Crisis era which trashed our formal training budgets.

So my membership of ASQ, an organization of quality professionals, has been an absolute life saver with its amazing breadth of online resources available to members globally. Recently I gave a presentation at a Knowledge Management conference in Canberra Australia on how social media tools have helped me to efficiently monitor emerging trends in quality management & technical barriers to trade. I need this in order to be on top of international trade trends in order to help my company gain & maintain access to international markets, via achieving 3rd Party certifications such as the EU's CE Mark.
As an Australian member of ASQ I was recently honored to be invited to participate in the ASQ Global Influential Voices program - (see our Moderator Paul's first blog). So I am delighted to be able to give back to those in ASQ Communities who have helped so many of us in the recent difficult years. And I find it incredible that I can be reading what quality guru's like Denis Arter are saying in almost real time. He's no longer just a book on my Quality Management bookshelf - but a real authentic person.

I'm also a member of several Standards Australia committees on Quality Management and also on Pressure Equipment, which is more at the coal face of quality. Get Pressure Equipment wrong and the outcomes can be serious even fatal.
What does that mean in reality ? Well I am a passionate traveller and over the last 5 years the overlapping spectra of quality/records/knowledge management has become very real to me as I travelled around the world ...
Think of the efforts to refurbish the Parthenon in Athens without original construction plans and working drawings ...
or the knowledge loss with the destruction of the library of Alexandria - not much remains as you can see from my pic below ...

I've been amazed to read of the incredible global collaboration led by New Zealand born / Australian RMIT Professor Mark Burry, that has finally seen the completion of Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona using collaborative & imaging technologies unimagined at the time of Gaudi's death, or even when I visited there in the early 1980's :
And with so much knowledge loss around the design & construction of our global cultural heritage, I was amazed to discover in Basilica San Marco, Venice, that the original designers & builders had kept a record which has assisted in its refurbishment over the years. What foresight !
People often seem too complacent about Quality till they discover problems and all too often too late: like that Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi - "you don't know what you've got till it's gone".

We do live in an increasingly globalized world and in the late 1990's there were fears about the newly emerging World Trade Organization (WTO) and globalization. Back then there was the Battle for Seattle - with a fear of crisis and a "Race to the Bottom" on many fronts : environment, quality, safety, living standards etc.

However an economist friend commented to me : There is nothing wrong with globalization if it is done right, with the right rules & controls.
Globalization need not be a crisis and indeed it is interesting to consider that the Asian script for Crisis represents both danger & opportunity :

Just like the global collaboration that has seen Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia finally completed & consecrated, I see the ASQ Global Voices of Quality initiative is opportunity to have global conversations, especially for those of us lone voices scattered across the globe, to promote the quality paradigm : sharing experiences & learnings - focusing on the Opportunities - done right it can counter the many Dangers facing our world & the fears of the Race to the Bottom.

Yes : I’m part of the ASQ Influential Voices program. While I receive a variety of quality resources as honorarium from ASQ in exchange for my commitment, the thoughts and opinions expressed on my blog are my own. I'm looking forward to learning, sharing and developing a community with my fellow participants, including Paul, our program leader.

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