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Apr 30, 2020

In our 36th "Deming Lens" episode, host Tripp Babbitt shares his interpretation of wide-ranging aspects and implications of Dr. Deming's theory of management. This month he looks at the Neuroscience and the System of Profound Knowledge.

Show Notes

Deming Institute Podcast - Episode 36

The Triune Brain

System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK)

The Challenge of Educating on  the SoPK




Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:14] In the thirty six edition of The Deming Lens, we'll take a look at neuroscience and the work of W. Edwards Deming.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:29] Hi, I'm Tripp Babbitt Host. Deming Institute podcast in this week. I want to talk about neuroscience and Deming. I do a podcast separate from the in the Deming Institute that looks at neuroscience and how we might be able to learn from it in business. And it's it's been a very interesting journey for me.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:54] And it started all because a lot of the books I was reading probably three, four years ago had to do with what was called the try and brain. Now, I didn't even know it was called that at the time, as though the word comes from Paul McLean, who came up with the breakdown of your brain in two, three parts.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:01:20] And just to simplify it, it's a reptilian brain, a million brain and the human brain.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:01:28] And that those are the three parts and the reptile brain is more the fight or flight type of thing that we're. Yeah, that was the beginning part of our brain. And then there's this outer layer. If he could visualize the mammalian brain, which is the limbic system, our emotion and our behavior, and then this third component that advanced later, basically the human brain as we know it now, it's part of the neocortex, which is where we have reason and the ability to do the things that humans can do that no other species can do. But as I got into it, I started talking to neuroscience. One thing started to become very evident, and that is that most neuroscientists don't.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:02:19] I believe that the brain is three separate parts and.That there may be a component of your brain that may be involved in emotion or reason or whatever, but it was the interconnectedness of the brain that really caught me by surprise. And I had never really thought about it. So much had been written about these three parts and how we react as reptiles.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:02:50] When certain things happen, them and so forth. And it made sense and it was easy to grasp. And I think that's one of the reasons why people perpetuate this merfolk. I'm sure it is at this point. But what's but it struck me that this interconnectedness was just like a system. And when we talk in terms of Dr. Deming's system of profound knowledge, it got me thinking about how difficult it is to come up with a way for people to learn something that is not the way that we normally learn things. We learn about math. We learn about English. We learn about history. We learn about a whole series of different components. And it's just the way that humans make sense of the world as we move forward. And it's easy to explain. In mere fact, when neuroscientists that I had on my podcast talked about the fact that, you know, if it's if it helps people understand it's OK to overgeneralize. And that's what people have done by perpetuating this try and brain fallacy. But it does make it very difficult since we don't learn systems. We learn parts that we enable to put those parts into a whole becomes even more difficult. And we see this in the education systems, even at advanced levels. You know, we have psychology and a system, profound knowledge, and we have theory of variation. We got theory and knowledge.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:04:35] We've got appreciation for a system and that all four of these things in her act, and it's just foreign when you talk to people because they want to learn one piece. And that just isn't the way that our brain is made. Because of its interconnectedness. And it's very difficult for us to grasp the system, profound knowledge that these four components work together to create the system. And yet nature does not look at things the way that humans have broken it down. It doesn't see math or science or English or French or any other things, that these are just ways that humans have adapted to be able to communicate with each other. And a lot of the ways we've had to adapt include the ability to overgeneralize. And I've been reflecting, you know, I think some people within the Deming community think that think of it almost as a red badge of courage or something. The fact that there is no true method associated with the Deming philosophy, you kind of have to understand that the each of these four components in light of each other and there's no way to really separate them out because they are so interconnected. And so got me thinking, and especially as I've started to build my own model or my own method for implementing the Deming philosophy, I sat back and said, you know, this does.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:06:17] This is a challenge. I mean, it won't be perfect. There are some things I've learned over the years about implementing the Deming philosophy and organizations, some of work better than others. But the more that I have learned about how interconnected these things are and how foreign Demings philosophy is, the way that people think that it seems like a worthy mission to be able to go out and try and figure out a way to communicate it in a way in which people can grasp. I don't think it just separating ourselves in the Deming community as people who are deeper thinkers or, you know, more robust in our education of. W. Edwards Deming is going to advance the cause. And I think now is a truly a pivotal time in our history, especially as we talk in terms of bringing me a lot of manufacturing back overseas into the United States. And we're going to have. Potentially another opportunity to. And I talked about this last week or last month a little bit about the situation that we have these barriers with the way that we're financially oriented and short term thinking oriented, and we have dividends and stock buybacks and all things that will be barriers to organizations to be able to compete in something like manufacturing. But I do find it interesting that, you know, with all the talk of A.I. and automation, that why can't it be done here and in domestic countries and within their own region, you know, not just the United States, but, you know, with a shortage of mass and ventilators as we go through the corona virus, having things more locally located seems to make a lot of sense to me. So I think another opportunity may be coming from the manufacturing room. And it can't be the old formula that we've heard about from traditional management.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:08:40] And that is we've got to get more productivity and get things out at a higher rate. And we're learning about the quality problems associated with some of the PPK from foreign countries. So we're going to have to if we're going to compete in this area we're at to get up on Azi, we're going to have to get up on automation and figure out ways to use that. Now, I'm come from the philosophy of. Looking at technology, I remember technology, you know, when we had information technology and all the computers every now and everything really was going to was saying, jeez, in all the jobs are gonna go away because we have information technology now. Well, let's see if we can safely say that infer information technology has actually grown the employment of countries rather than diminished it over a particular period of time. So these are some of the things that that I see. And being able to have some method associated with the Deming philosophy to me makes a lot of sense, although very difficult to accomplish that. I'll test, too, because there are so many things when you look through that particular Deming lens where you're seeing a lot of the interconnectedness between things.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:10:07] But we need to start to be able to connect the dots to reach those that are of the try and brain trap type of mindset where they've overgeneralize things to the point where maybe it's it's even wrong. If we're looking at it from a Deming lens standpoint. So being able to communicate those things and breaking it out, maybe using the components of training or try and brain, but with a asterisk next next to it. That basically says, hey, you know, these things are all interconnected. We don't we aren't just emotional because of the limbic system. We're emotional because the limbic system is involved, but so are multiple other parts of the brain. And sometimes the limbic system isn't even involved at all, which is bizarre to me. But these are some of the thing, things that you learn and that what makes the Deming philosophy so interesting to me is the fact that this interconnectedness between things perpetuates actually the way that things actually are in the natural world.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:11:19] And so we're going to have to be able to take that and maybe look, relook at things. And especially in the education system. If you look at colleges and universities, you know, everything is still separated in two pieces. And I think one of the interesting parts to me about Dr. Deming was that he reached across multiple disciplines to be able to come up with his philosophy. He had to learn something a little bit about Pista Walji. He had to learn a little bit about psychology. I suspect he probably would be at this point with advancements in neuroscience looking into that. But I don't know. But I bet just because he's such a lifelong learner, I have to believe that he would be here, that he would have that he knew about systems thinking and started to put that together. And I think the cross almost crossed a department type of thinking or the interconnectedness of the system type of thinking is really what what sets it apart and allows it to leap.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:12:37] So I challenge people to be able to go out there and think in terms of the Deming philosophy and ways to explain it that don't over over simplify or watered down the message of what it was that he is was trying to teach and still build. I'm a strong believer that we need to continue to advance that thinking and looking at cross disciplines that can help shed light on Dr. Demings philosophy and be the lifelong learners that he challenged us to be.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:13:14] So that was it for this this month. I wanted to go through it just a little.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:13:20] It was such a moment for me when you started to see that the brain was as interconnected as the Dr. Deming system of profound knowledge, that that there are so many things that make up our thoughts and the way that we react and do things. And it's not just one part of our brain. And so it isn't one part. And it really sent me back to systems thinking that we're greater than the sum of our parts.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:13:54] And just optimizing the parts within an organization will not achieve what we need to do and that we have to understand what the connections are and we will have to continue to overgeneralize them in order to communicate them. But we've got to be careful not to water down the message of what a system is and what Dr. Deming was talking about in his system of profound knowledge.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:14:24] Thank you for listening to the Deming Institute podcast, stay updated on the latest blogs, podcasts, programs and other activities at Deming dot org.