The W. Edwards Deming Institute® Podcast (interviews)

Commencing in 2014, The Deming Institute has recorded podcasts on a monthly basis, featuring 20 to 30-minute interviews by Tripp Babbitt with members of the Deming Community who are advancing the use and explanations of Dr. Deming's ideas. 

In our January podcast, Tim Higgins, President of the In2:InThinking Network,, and Quality Engineer for NASA, based in Los Angeles, California, shares insights from his 30+ years of studying, applying, and illuminating The Deming System of Profound Knowledge®.

Following a brief career as an educator in a public school system, Tim shifted careers and joined the rocket engine industry, employed by “Rocketdyne” (a division of Rockwell, then Boeing, followed by Pratt & Whitney, and now integrated with Aerojet). Along the way, Tim was introduced to Dr. Deming’s theory of management and, upon reflection, realized his inclinations against grades in school, while serving as a teacher, could be explained through his appreciation of Profound Knowledge.   For a short time, Tim was a member of Rocketdyne’s TQM Office, where he was introduced to the thinking of Genichi Taguchi and partnered with peers to create Rocketdyne’s pioneering “InThinking Roadmap” curriculum.   The subsequent focus on thinking modes led to his contributions as a co-founder of the In2:InThinking Network, a non-profit for which he now serves as president.  

In 2009, Tim crossed the employment bridge from the contractor side (“Rocketdyne”) to the customer side (NASA), inspired the proposition of assuming a role that would help Rocketdyne become a better contractor.

Guided by his extraordinary experiences as a quality advisor, Tim has led study sessions for Dr. Deming’s The New Economics for the past 12+ years, under the sponsorship of “Rocketdyne”.    Beginning in 2017, these sessions, comprised of six 90-minute conference calls, are being sponsored by The Deming Institute.   Led by Tim, participants share their interpretations and questions of The New Economics, chapter-by-chapter, covering 2 chapters in each 2-hour session.    A few highlights from Tim’s musings with Tripp on the study sessions follow below:

  • Why he believes Deming (management) is about learning
  • The popularity of the question "Why doesn’t everyone get “Deming management”?"
  • Why being conscious of context is essential
  • Why, when dealing with a difficulty in perception, using logic is no help is helping others see things differently
  • Issues associated with extrinsic motivation – punishment and rewards
  • Some challenges of letting go of “patting others” on the head
  • The widespread similarity of organizations
  • What would happen if “rating and ranking” systems were used at home?
  • Lessons from transforming his manager
  • Feedback from his VP’s administrative assistant on rewards systems
  • His realization that the system we have is perfectly designed to obtain the results we’re getting
  • Why asking for different results requires a different system
  • Some implications of empowerment
Direct download: DemingEpisode37.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 11:57pm PST

Skip Steward, Chief Improvement Officer, Baptist Memorial Health Care - From Manufacturing to Healthcare - Reflections on Continuous Improvement

Commencing in 2014, The Deming Institute has recorded podcasts on a monthly basis, featuring 20 to 30-minute interviews by Tripp Babbitt with members of the Deming Community who are advancing the use and explanations of Dr. Deming's ideas.

In our December podcast, Skip Steward, Chief Improvement Office (CIO) for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation in Memphis, Tennessee shares lessons from the “Baptist Management System,” including reflections from his 25+ year continuous improvement journey.    Guided by his introduction to Dr. Deming’s vision of continuous improvement, Skip “migrated” from an early career in manufacturing to his current career in healthcare.   One year ago, he was promoted from System Director for Continuous Improvement to serve as Baptist Health Care’s first-ever “CIO”, with an “I” for Improvement.

In addition to his explanation of the Baptist Management System, (“a holistic approach to managing that puts a focus on purpose, people and process. We care about the purpose, how to improve the process, and how we develop the people to improve the process.), Skip emphasizes his “infant stages” role in leading the shift in thinking within Baptist Health Care.   In doing so, Skip explains the holistic nature he captured and distilled from Dr. Deming’s management method and what he is doing with this wisdom to challenge and limit the otherwise “business as usual” tendency towards event-driven and episodic improvements.   While crediting the tools of Hoshin Planning, Design of Experiments, Statistical Process Control, Value Stream Mapping, and Pareto charts in both clinical and non-clinical settings, Skip is quick to acknowledge the role of placing a priority on being guided by a Deming lens before proceeding to the “faster-better-cheaper” efficiency of tools.  

Direct download: DemingEpisode36.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 2:27am PST

Deming Research Fellow in Public Affairs, Professor Ravi Roy

Commencing in 2014, The Deming Institute has recorded podcasts on a monthly basis, featuring 20 to 30-minute interviews by Tripp Babbitt with members of the Deming Community who are advancing the use and explanations of Dr. Deming's ideas.

In our November podcast, Ravi Roy, Professor of Public Administration for Southern Utah University (SUU) in Cedar City, Utah, reveals the status of evolving efforts to share his appreciation of Dr. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge® with his Public Administration students, strongly aligned with his role as the inaugural Research Fellow of The Deming Institute.

Beginning in the 1920s, with his employment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dr. Deming worked closely with students to share his research into statistical theory.  Along the way, he was introduced to Professor Harold Hotelling, who Deming would later reference with the following comment, “As Harold Hotelling once said, “He who does no research has nothing to teach.””  Inspired by Dr. Deming’s passion for research, The Deming Institute recently unveiled a fellowship program to engage researchers who share a desire to both expand and deepen the understanding and application of Dr. Deming’s management philosophy among a new generation of students and scholars.  Link here to learn more about this Research Fellow program.

In this month's episode, Ravi shares reflections from his Deming research journey and his passion for guiding his student’s understanding and application of Dr. Deming’s management method. As the former director of SUU’s Masters in Public Administration program, Ravi is progressing to a role as director of the Deming Incubator for Public Affairs for Southern Utah University, a new partnership with The Deming Institute.    Under Ravi’s leadership, SUU students will soon have the opportunity to engage him in applying Dr. Deming’s “new economics for industry, government, education,” with an emphasis on government.

Direct download: DemingEpisode35.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 11:15pm PST

TJ Gokcen, CEO of Acquate - "Joy in Software Development"
Beginning in 2014, The Deming Institute has recorded podcasts on a monthly basis, featuring 20 to 30-minute interviews by Tripp Babbitt with members of the Deming Community who are advancing the use and explanations of Dr. Deming's ideas.
In our October podcast, TJ Gokcen, CEO of Acquate, a software company in Sydney, Australia, shares his learning journey, from collegiate swimmer to software developer, ever in alignment with the Deming philosophy.

For many, Dr. Deming was discovered in 1980 through the NBC television whitepaper, If Japan Can, Why Can’t We.  Throughout this documentary are tell-tale signs of a failing US economy, one heavily dependent on manufacturing, from the production of machine tools to the fabrication of automobiles.   To no surprise, many of the earliest examples of the application of Dr. Deming’s management philosophy were in manufacturing.   Meanwhile, attendees at his seminars who came from outside of manufacturing environments might have struggled to see the significance to their professions.   Credit Dr. Deming with continuously striving to demonstrate the unlimited applicability of his management theory, ever mindful of the trap of having attendees see the statistical tools he presented as his core message.   Credit TJ Gokcen with a simple, yet insightful explanation of how he has been applying Dr. Deming’s philosophy to both the design of the software developed by Acquate and the internal operation of Acquate.

In this 30-minute episode, TJ skillfully guides listeners through the technical jargon of software development, from agile to scrum to waterfall to kanban techniques, and then proceeds to the heart of how he believes Acquate differentiates itself from other software companies.   Using one of Dr. Deming’s favorite questions about “how to wash a table?,” TJ provides parallels for how his developers probe their clients, question after question, wanting to know more and more about “how will the software be used.”   For those who wonder how Dr. Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge applies to software, this podcast will open minds and doors to amazing possibilities.   For those who appreciate the wide applicability of Dr. Deming’s philosophy, this podcast will provide a brilliant reminder.
Direct download: DemingEpisode34.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 4:52pm PST

David P. Langford, CEO of Langford Learning, Inc. – Where is all the Joy?

In this week’s podcast, David P. Langford, CEO of Langford Learning, Inc., focuses on “Joy in Learning” and how to bring joy back into the education system.

In answering why students aren’t experiencing “Joy in Learning” David starts by quoting Dr. Deming, “are we trying to create a system that teaches students to answer tests or are we trying to create a system that teaches them to think?” The current education system continues to focus on test scores, to the detriment of learning and the loss of elements in the system (like fine arts programs) that brought enjoyment. Dr. Deming was the first person David encountered who believed students have a right to joy in learning. 

What can you do to change the system?  David tells us that restoring joy begins with your “circle of influence” and connecting with those who want a better way to do things. Teachers can start by simply asking students, “what drives you to have joy in learning and what prevents it?”

David shares that there is no recipe for using the Deming philosophy, unlike other education movements. Often these methods don’t work because there is no understanding of variability between communities, states, cultures and the background of students. Once it’s decided to change the system, real learning happens, performance goes up and joy returns!

Direct download: DemingEpisode33.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 10:50am PST

Travis Timmons, Owner and Physical Therapist of Fitness Matters and Kelly Allan, Deming Institute Advisory Board Chairman - “From Chaos to Process”

Travis Timmons, owner of Fitness Matters and Kelly Allan, Senior Associate of Kelly Allan Associates and Chair of the Deming Institute Advisory Board.

Travis and Kelly share the Deming journey “From Chaos to Process” of Fitness Matters, starting with Travis’s introduction to The System of Profound Knowledge® (SoPK), and systems thinking. The focus then shifts to psychology and caring for people, and how they have driven our fear and removed barriers all while creating “joy in work”.  He ends with how using the Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) Cycle has helped them grow and thrive.

Travis discusses how he was introduced to the Deming philosophy and areas that first resonated with him - including using a systems approach, and how to think differently and put processes in place to make better decisions. One of the most powerful aspects for him was how SoPK makes you look at how you care for people inside and outside the organization.

Travis and Kelly then talk about how the psychology element and the team mindset has been game changing.  These have led to less fear, less stress and more joy within the organization, leading to positive outcomes and win-wins for everyone (including the competition).

Lastly, Travis shares a few examples of PDSA’s and the aha moments they discovered along the way. From getting new referrals to finding tampering in the scheduling system, PDSA’s have been a very effective tool in moving them light years ahead in working together as one system and having fun while they do it.

Direct download: DemingEpisode32.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 1:58pm PST

Cliff Norman and Ron Moen of Associates in Process Improvement (API) – The PDSA Cycle “Business Is More Exacting Than Science”

Cliff Norman and Ron Moen, of Associates in Process Improvement (API) discuss the history of the Plan Do Study Act (PDSA Cycle) and their research on the subject. 

Cliff and Ron start with how the underpinning of Deming's philosophy was the idea of "continuous improvement", with the PDSA Cycle underlying that philosophy. They discuss the PDSA Cycle of never-ending improvement and learning, and how the iterative nature of the cycle fits with The Deming System of Profound Knowledge®. As Ron shares, Dr. Deming believed that "business is more exacting than science" as businesses must continually learn and improve to survive.

Next Cliff and Ron delve into why they wrote a paper on the PDSA Cycle. Ron explains that the quality movement in America began after the NBC White Paper, If Japan Can..Why Can't We? aired in 1980. This raised interest in the Japan and the Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) cycle, which originated there.  Although Dr. Deming never spoke of PDCA, it was connected to him in the early 80's. That incorrect attribution was the inspiration behind the paper. 

Cliff and Ron discuss the evolution of the PDSA Cycle, starting hundreds of years ago with the theories of Galileo and Aristotle. Listen as they take you through the progression, from the Shewhart Cycle, through the Deming Wheel and ultimately the PDSA Cycle as we know it today.

Direct download: DemingEpisode31.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 9:17am PST

Kevin Cahill, Executive Director of The W. Edwards Deming Institute, and David Langford, CEO of Langford Learning, Inc. – “The Deming in Education Initiative”

In this week’s podcast, Kevin Cahill, Executive Director of The W. Edwards Deming Institute® and David Langford, CEO of Langford Learning, Inc., introduce The Deming in Education Initiative.  Kevin and David share how The Deming in Education Initiative was conceived, the impact of the Deming Philosophy on education, and where the Initiative is going in the future.

The initiative first began many years ago when David joined the Deming Institute Advisory Board to help with their efforts to apply the Deming philosophy in education. But the roots of Deming in Education go even further back.  As David explains, improving education was “a great love” of Dr. Deming, as an educator who taught at NY University for 40 years.  Many of Dr. Deming’s theories and teachings are directly focused on the education system.  After working with Dr. Deming from 1986 to 1993, David began implementing the concepts in his own education system, finding that students easily took to the new approach.

Over the last 25 years, David has seen the Deming teachings make a profound and lasting impact on improving school culture and the learning process in the US and around the world.  It is the only philosophy that improves all aspects of the education system.  That impact has inspired Kevin, David and The Deming Institute to commit a deeper focus on developing a long term, sustainable, systems approach to improving education for all students, through The Deming in Education Initiative.

Direct download: DemingEpisode30.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 1:18pm PST

Frony Ward, Managing and Founding Partner of Pinnacle Partners, Inc. – Beware, Not All Polls Are The Same

This week's Podcast, continues our "Knowledge in Variation Series" with Dr. Frony Ward, Managing and Founding Partner of Pinnacle Partners, Inc.

In this podcast, Frony discusses online surveys and polls. She starts by sharing the fundamental piece of every single survey. From there she delves into elections polls, and why so many election polls show different results. Lastly, she discusses two or three good things you can do to help yourself understand a poll.

Direct download: DemingEpisode29.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 3:15pm PST

Scott Dalgleish, CEO at Phase IV Engineering – “It Just Made Sense And It Worked”

Scott's story starts in 1986, as a graduate walking in the doors of P&G to be a new engineer and shift manager. He was soon perplexed by how he could contribute to solving issues associated with production and quality. During this time, P&G introduced the Deming Philosophy to the organization; a decision that would have a profound impact on Scott's professional and personal life. Scott eagerly applied what he learned, despite facing resistance to change and improvements. After three years, he decided to move to a smaller company where the Deming principles were readily embraced. Listen as Scott discusses how he leads a highly inventive engineering organization whose focus is on innovation and the advantage gained through the embrace of Deming's continual improvement philosophy. Hear his fascinating approach to hiring employees without factoring in schooling and GPA, and a discussion between Tripp and Scott on the challenge presented by ISO 9000.

Direct download: DemingEpisode28.m4a
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 2:14pm PST