ASQ Influential Voices program

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.

Somos parte de Corporación 3D Calidad

Este blog es una contribución de Corporación 3D Calidad.

Nuestro compromiso es mejorar los sistemas y resultados de las organizaciones apoyando a su desarrollo y crecimiento.

lunes, 27 de abril de 2015

Learning, Networking and having fun at WCQI


In the blog of ASQ, A view from The Q, Julia McIntosh is asking Influential Voices about the value of conferences, meetings and in-person events. More particularly, she is asking how we choose which ones to attend.

In my case, when I began my journey into the world of Quality, I searched for an organization that could fullfill my desire to learn and meet interesting people, the answer was ASQ.

I have always believed that face-to-face communication is important in order to build long-term relationships. For that reason, I have attended World Congress of Quality uninterruptedly, making a financial effort. This year I will be attending WCQI that will be held in Nashville, TN.

Right now I'm packing, leaving room for stuff that I will bring back with me in the luggage after the Congress.

I would divide the experience in three phases:  Pre event, event and Post event (back home), and analyze  pros and  cons in each stage.

Pre event

At this stage the only negative thing is getting the budget to participate, but I think it is worthwhile.  I am convinced that if  we schedule early enough, we can allocate a portion of our income to participate in a world-class event like WCQI. Also, if we plan ahead on time, we can make a space in our calendar and set appropriately with our clients and leave everything organized in our company. It is a wrong signal if we can not go away one week of our company.

We should also start checking the website of the Congress a few weeks before, in order to prepare the agenda and different meetings. I am using the application that is now available in ASQ for Android and iOS, it is really fantastic.

We should make a list of people with whom we would like to exchange ideas or just say hello, so that we do not forget anyone. Throughout these years, I have made many friends with whom I am in contact during the year via e-mail and I enjoy sharing time with them in the course of the short days of the Congress.


During the Congress the negative aspect would be that there is so much to see and do and we are  short of time. We have to learn how to choose, but we are always going to miss something.

In my case, it is essential to participate in Member Leaders Events (previous to Congress) to share ideas and give suggestions to improve ASQ.

During the Congress, I like to exchange cards, I become friend via Linkedin and in that way I left the door open for future contacts. 

During the Congress the THREE MAIN REASONS of going, became reality:  learning, networking and having fun.

Learning leads me to grasp new ideas, reinforce concepts that I know and often making new connections that I will take back home.

Networking is vital and starts at the meeting of the Member Leaders, in the work sessions, workshops and in the exhibit area.  I try to meet new people and give regards to my old friends. 
My suggestion is that you have to move fast. 

I think "after five" sessions and "hospitality rooms" are vital.

Seeing my friends year after year makes time stand still and fills me with energy.

The fact of having fun occurs in every moment: in the plenary, when the results of the winning team are presented and during the little things that make a big difference and will be stored in my memory.

I love to meet and exchange ideas with those who build Quality.

Post event

After returning home, the main task is to classify information and make a "to do" list, including people to contact and follow up. The downside is that many times the pressure of everyday life makes us to forget many elements that could make a difference. I believe that through Linkedin and Facebook we could keep in touch.

If  we want to take full advantage of the Congress, we must attend every year. I have chosen WCQI as my main international conference, but I also attend others in different countries or in my own country, but I always believe that face-to-face experience is core.

I enjoyed reading again Survival Guide prepared years ago by other bloggers, mainly the blog written by Scott Rutherford, where we can find Elias Monreal's comment. Elias is no longer with us, but I will feel his passion and enthusiasm in the Congress.

See you in Nashville !!

César Díaz

jueves, 2 de abril de 2015

New generation of STEM professionals

In his latest blog, Bill Troy, CEO of ASQ, asks to Influential Voices of Quality, how should we motivate young people to have a new generation of STEM professionals?

What does a STEM  professional mean? Those who will develop skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

In the month of february the USA celebrates the week of Engineering, which invites us to reflect on the importance of engineers to give every country competitive advantage through innovation in goods and services.
On February 22, 2012, Paul Borawski invited us to write about this topic, and my response was developed in this blog. I invite you to read my thoughts that are still inforce.

An engineer should be synonymous of "inventiveness" and should keep a balance between the use of the left side of the brain (logical) and the right side (creative). 

The misundertanding is to think that "engineers" should just have to strength the mathematical and numerical side.

Michael Gelb in his book "How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps toGenius Every Day" lets us clearly see that this great engineer (da Vinci) used both sides of his brain.

Now, the question will be: What do we have to do to motive and train young people in STEM? 

We will use the basic elements of Quality:

  • Use the PDCA cycle, always thinking in whom should we direct our efforts (youths), planning process, do (execute), check what have worked for us (to repeat it) and what we need to improve, and act to produce substantial improvements.
  • Remember that a good engineer is good in thinking and innovating, not necessarily repeating processes without producing improvement.
  • Any process of learning science and mathematics should be planned to be fun, entertaining and with processes that go from simple to complex.
  • We should develop learning keeping in mind the principles of quality:  focus on our customers, demonstrating leadership in the process, involving students from the early stages, understanding the learning process, developing a systemic approach, focusing in continuous improvement, and finally developing competent and motivated teachers to communicate and learn in the process.

We must change the mindset we have about engineers. The TV serie The Big Bang Theory has achieved that goal and made us to accept them, but it has also created a stereotype. I believe an engineer is not necessarily shy and with no social skills; there are many types of engineers.

Respecting their individuality, an engineer must develop leadership, communication and management skills and mainly they should speak management language.

As a final thought I believe we must be convinced that the new STEM professionals and everybody must see that the study of mathematics and science allows us to improve our lives. We have to have fun and enjoy during this process!

César Díaz