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Feb 1, 2017

In our January 2017 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