Foresight is a discipline and a set of methodologies for forecasting the future. Basically it is possible to imagine future scenarios in order to plan the necessary actions to prevent or accelerate its occurrence. This methodology is the analysis from the future into the present, anticipating the configuration of a desirable future, then reflecting on the present from that imagined future, to devise strategies for action aimed at achieving the desired future.
In an effort to anticipate the future of quality, ASQ conducted the study for the future for the first time in 1995. The value of the study was such that ASQ has repeated once every three years that analysis. The study Paul Borowski has asked us to discuss is the sixth in the series, and in its final version will have identified the key strengths, develop potential scenarios and describe actions that bring us closer to the desired future.
In the 2008 study the forces identified were:
2. Social Responsibility
3. New Dimensions of Quality
4. Aging Population
5. Health Management
6. Greater Environmental Awareness
7. 21 st Century Technology
The document is being discussed for the year 2011, involves the contribution of more than 150 speakers from over 40 countries. In this blog I would like to do the analysis from the perspective of a Latin American (LA) citizen and member of the global community of quality:
1. Global Responsibility, which represents the fusion of the need to be more socially responsible with the overall impact with the local decisions. The planet has finite resources and the impact that LA countries has been minor, so I think it becomes imperative to take care of our resources and preserve everything we have and in turn create awareness in the world to care and not spoil LA resources and the environment around us. We must avoid being seen as the place where you can deposit waste and learn how to get economic growth without damaging our environment.
2. Increased consumer awareness is the fact that consumers use their ability to access information to make better purchasing decisions. Today, customers can shop around the world and loyalty to the brands disappears. In countries like Ecuador, although access to the internet is not for all the people, this has become a reality, and has forced many local businesses to change their behavior towards the customer. The ability to recommend and / or criticize a product or service in real time iand the way new generations use technology putt he things upside down. Organizations in Latin America that do not adopt new paradigms will disappear.
3. Globalization, which is the only force that appears from the studies of 1996 and was the first in the list of studies of the two previous years. In Ecuador when I look at my children's friends many of them see the world as their choice and are not limited to the borders of Ecuador. The reality today is that customers, suppliers and employees can come from anywhere in the world. On the other hand also LA companies is beginning to become more aware of the costs of transport and how to try to produce locally but with an international perspective. Companies in Ecuador start thinking about the whole supply chain becomes part of the strategy. There are opportunities to adopt appropriate strategies.
4. The increase in the rate of change, which has emerged as a force in itself, with all the opportunities and risks it represents. Now in LA you can have the same technology from abroad, but the disadvantage we have is that we are consumers of technology but have not developed technology centers in our countries, which makes us a very big disadvantage in possibilities of development.
5. The workforce of the future that will challenge our notions of talent, work, work and learning. I think we are seeing new generations better prepared with better opportunities. That is a challenge for LA countries to not only sell only unskilled labor, but human talent.
6. The aging population and the fact that we have now in the business (most of them familiar in LA) three generations working simultaneously at the same time, this has meant that new skills are needed and new knowledge. I think in health systems and social insurance in LA we are not improving at the rate that these changes require. Demographers suggest that by 2025 most of the population over 65 years and that too will impact on our countries.
7. Quality of the Century 21 and its evolution from the lower levels of the organization to management levels and toward a total quality. I think in LA there are still a long way to go, there has been growth in managerial levels but there is much room for improvement.
8. Innovation as a force with the reality that has become a vital element in organizations. LA companies are still sleeping on this trend, but I have faith that the new generations entering management levels will embrace this challenge.
Finally I would like to share some thoughts on the future of quality given by Gary Cort, Chairman, ISO / TC 176 Quality Management and Quality Assurance in International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which in a conversation about the future of quality indicated that the rate of change in some sectors (eg electronics) our quality expectations are lower and it becomes a paradox between innovation and improvement. Please see the video.
I think there is much to do to reach the desired future, and if we can not direct the wind, we can direct the sails and the future will depend on the decisions we make in the present.