The first four papers in this issue all relate to the subject of applying explicit business and process improvement methods in the areas of technology creation and development and used by technologists and engineers. This topic area is one that many CQM member CEOs and other senior managers have said is particularly important to their companies and is an area in which many companies don't really know what to do. Unfortunately, this issue does not provide a proven set of step-by-step methods. The best this issue can do is to highlight the ideas and experiences of a number of technology practitioners on what they think needs to be addressed and what has worked for them. These four papers are summarized below:
- The first paper this issue, by Greg Gonzalez, is on the future of work. It is a report from a symposium held at Stanford University and jointly organized at The Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing, the Center for Work, Technology and Organization, and the Center for Quality of Management. The speakers at this symposium emphasized the issues they think people must address going forward.
- The second paper, by Sreenivasa Rao, is on improving design productivity through design reuse. These are methods that Analog Devices is currently finding success with.
- The third paper contains reflections, from my long past experience in engineering and in technology management, about how to get more productivity from technologists.
- The fourth paper, compiled by the Editors, reports on a pair of CQM working sessions that investigated what gets in the way of innovation, illustrating the use of causal loop diagrams.
The causal loop diagrams discussed in the fourth paper are an important tool used in CQM's Mastering Business Complexity (MBC) set of methods (see Volume 11, Number 1 of this journal for a detailed introduction to the MBC methods). The fifth paper in this issue is also derived from the MBC methods, particularly the method known as SCORE. This paper describes a new business planning process that meets the strategy planning criteria of the Baldridge award.
In the daily news we mostly hear talk about what should be done or is not being done by government to help businesses and workers. The sixth and final paper in this issue, refreshingly, describes a specific approach involving ISO 9000 that the state of New Jersey is using to help its businesses and workers be more competitive in our increasingly global world.