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.

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