Christianity, Citizenship, and Quality Management Apologetic concept (C2QMA). Apologetics is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Wikipedia

PDSA Examples

“Jesus is the perfect apologist and critical thinker.” If you take any example of how Jesus addressed people and topics, he has the “perfect” (ideal) response that I think falls within a “predictable” format: Motivation, Action, Feedback, Learning. These components can be aligned within a cycle for learning and development referred to as the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle.

  • Plan – Motivation
  • Do – Act
  • Study – Feedback
  • Act – Learning

Overall Premise: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mathew 5:48, NIV).  Striving to be more perfect requires that variation from the ideal be reduced – the gap between the actual situation and what the ideal or perfect situation would/should be.

For every student of Apologetics, isn’t the expectation that students will learn to be a more effective apologist which will result in bringing more people to Christ?  If so, wouldn’t this be an example of “reducing variation?”

Take any example of Jesus’ interaction with people:

  • Motivation.  What was Jesus’ motivation?
  • Action: Given a respective situation, what did he do and say?
  • Feedback:  What was the result of his actions on others?  Was variation reduced, e.g. did his actions have positive effects, were more needs met?
  • Learning: What was learned by those that heard or later read about the situation? What did they do with what they learned? What has been the effect of their respective contributions?

Application from the Perspective of God

  • Motivation: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
  • Action:  God gave His only begotten Son who provided the example for perfect, taught, provided examples, recruited disciples, performed miracles, was crucified, died, buried, and resurrected.  His life validated prophecies in the Old Testament and his life and works are documented in the New Testament.
  • Feedback.  For over 2,000 years, individuals have accepted the truth of Christianity and embraced God’s plan for them. Many in turn have shared the gospel and brought even more people to Christ.
  • Learning.  The Apologetics Master Program at CCU is an example of building a capability to expand the number of apologists to reach even more people. And with current communication technologies, there are EVEN more opportunities to reach more people by providing the right message, at the right time to the right audience.

The Case for Christ. A practical application to help assess the format for learning and development is Lee’ Strobel’s “The Case for Christ”. His book was also turned into a movie.  When reading the book or viewing the movie, can you answer the following questions?

  • Motivation. What led to Strobel’s desire to challenge and then “Make the Case” for Christ?
  • Action. What did he do to confirm or refute his theory?
  • Feedback. What information did he obtain that convinced him of the Truth of Christianity?
  • Act. How did he apply what he learned? How was this shared with others? What has been the effect and long-term result?  One of the outcomes led to the development of the Apologoetiuc program at CCU.

The Master’s Program in Apologetics at CCU provides another illustration.

  • The “motivation” includes the desire to bring more people to Christ.
  • The “Action” is represented by the course curriculum.
  • The “Feedback” would include student evaluations and feedback, enrollments, and the success of graduates. Feedback would also be used to make course and program improvements.
  • The “Story” (Learning) would include how the program is marketed and the testimony from students on the success they have had in applying their new skills and capabilities in bringing more people to Christ.


  • Motivation – What motivated you to enroll in a course/program?  What are your expectations?
  • Action – Includes enrolling in a course and meeting requirements.
  • Feedback – Provided throughout each session by the instructor and fellow students
  • Learning – Continually refining respective apologetic methods. Further and future learning and application opportunities are supported through repeated cycles of the PDSA.

Personal Example

My father was told by his doctor that he needed to adopt a better diet and exercise program or his health would continue to deteriorate and would lead to a shorter life. With the love and support of my mother and family (Motivation), my Dad changed his habits (Action).  The Feedback provided by the Doctor indicated that the changes were effective. My dad lived a healthier and longer life (Learning/Story).

Deming reinforced that application of the PDSA Cycle or process is executed in the context of a system that can lead to profound knowledge:  

  • Psychology (Motivation)
  • Systems (Action)
  • Variation (Feedback)
  • Knowledge (Learning)

In summary, regardless of the level – scholars to children, isn’t the aim always to reduce variation from the ideal that can be supported through a shared method?

APL C2QMA Concept

Christian, Citizenship, and Quality Management Apologetic (C2QMA)

“Apologetics derives from the Greek word apologia, “to give an answer.” 1 Peter 3:15 gives us the defining statement: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer (apologia) to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”  Ravi Zacharias – RZIM.org


Leveraging the interrelationship between Christianity, Citizenship, and Quality Management has the potential of providing a needed context that can immediately address the most pressing issues of our time, help mitigate the effects of conflicts, and improve the quality of life throughout all levels of our society.


Christianity, Citizenship, and Quality Management share a common aim:  Reducing variation from the ideal will lead to more perfect outcomes. Excellent quality is the result of doing the right things, right.

  • An ideal would be that all human needs are met.  Needs would include physical, emotional, and spiritual.
    • Example: Health Care is a need. As more needs are being met, the less the adverse effect on people of needs not being met.
  • Variation either gets better (more needs are continuously being met) or it gets worse (adverse effect on people of needs not being met.
  • The Christian, Citizenship, and Quality Management Apologetic supports secular and non-secular methods for improvement.   Non-secular approaches have not, will not, and cannot produce the most optimal outcomes.
    • In a secular approach, the customer/stakeholder/supplier defines “perfect” e.g., the right things.
    • In a non-secular approach, God defines perfect and Jesus the standard of perfection.
  • Christian Apologetics provides the truth and defense of the Christian faith.  A more conscious awareness and understanding of variation by apologists will provide additional insight and support for advocating acceptance of the Christian truth.


  • In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth (Genesis 1:1, NIV)
  • Variation is a fundamental element of God’s design.  The variation principle states that everything varies: no two people or things are exactly alike. Variation represents the difference between the ideal (perfect) and the actual situation. (ASQ – What is the Law of Variation?)
  • Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mathew 5:48, NIV)
  • Jesus established the human standard for perfection; God is perfect, man is imperfect but expected to support improvement.
    •  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippines  4:8-9, NIV)


  • The U.S. Founding Fathers were influenced by Judeo-Christian values and integrated Christian principles into the design of the U.S. system of government.
    • 238 of the 250 men that we would call our Founding Fathers were in fact traditional, fundamental Christians” (Pastor Paul Blair, America’s Christain Heritage”, p13.)
    • The Preamble to the Constitution identifies the aim  of the U.S. system of government for We the People (citizens) to  continually work towards “a more perfect Union.”
    • The intent through the Constitution and Bill of Rights was to establish a framework that would enable citizens to work together in pursuit of a more perfect Union.  It was expected that Christian leaders would continue to lead or support improvement efforts.  The emergence of political parties is a challenge to this premise.
  • “We the People” own the system of government – we are top management. We can delegate accountability to our elected representatives but we are always responsible for assessing the results from changes to policy and laws and supporting improvement.
  • The Founders expected future generations to develop better methods for assessing the “State of the Union,” and their respective “State of the Community” by identifying and then supporting changes that would result in progress towards “a more perfect Union.”
  • Alexander Hamilton -Revolutionary War General, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Author of the Federalist Papers, Secretary of the Treasury, killed by Aaron Burr  in a duel:
    • One other consequence of Hamilton’s untimely death was that it permanently halted the formation of a religious society Hamilton had proposed. Hamilton suggested that it be named the Christian Constitutional Society, and listed two goals for its formation: first, the support of the Christian religion; and second, the support of the Constitution of the United States. This or¬ganization was to have numerous clubs throughout each state which would meet regularly and work to elect to office those who reflected the goals of the Christian Constitutional Society. 36
  • American Renewal Project
    • From The Desk of Mike Huckabee:  My good friend Rabbi Daniel Lapin wrote an opinion piece last week titled, “Only Six More Years for America?” https://rabbidaniellapin.com/only-six-more-years/ Laying out the great civilizations over the last 3 millennia, which according to him last on average 250 years, Rabbi Lapin says that there is hope for America because of her Judeo-Christian heritage and founding:

  • More Info:

Quality Management

  • Law of Variation – American Society for Quality. 
    • The Law of Variation is defined as the difference between the ideal and an actual situation.
    • An ideal situation represents a standard of perfection—or the highest standard of excellence defined by stakeholders, including direct customers, internal customers, suppliers, society, and shareholders.
  • The quality management principles, methods, and tools represent proven approaches for reducing variation from the ideal.  They are applied to improve the quality of the products and services provided worldwide. Products and services are developed to meet a need (s).
  • Two major organizations that support the development and application of the better methods and tools include the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
  • The basic tools of quality are taught and applied at the K-12 level. The basic and advanced tools of quality are taught and applied by adults throughout the world.
  • Taguchi Loss Function.  The Taguchi Loss Function is an accepted principle within the quality profession.  It states that the closer a product or service is to the ideal (nominal, optimal) the higher the quality and the lower the cost to society (stakeholders).
  • W. Edwards Deming was a world-renowned leader in quality management. He supported Taguchi’s conclusion and  reinforced the point:  “Anything less than optimization of the whole system will bring eventual loss to every component in the system” (W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, p.53)
    • Deming also reinforced the aim for improvement: “If I had to reduce my message for management to just a few words, I’d say it all had to do with reducing variation”  Ref: Henry R. Neave, The Deming Dimension (Knoxville, TN: SPC Press Inc., 1990), p. 57
    • Deming’s contributions for improving the quality of products and services provided worldwide were recognized in Fortune magazine as being among the 20 that have shaped the modern world of business and in U.S. News and World Report as one of nine turning points in history. The top turning point was identified as “The Apostle Paul, whose preaching and eloquent writings led to mass acceptance of Christianity.”
    • Deming was a devout Christian and supported a secular (non-religious/spiritual) approach in his consulting, teaching, and publications.  In the first edition of his last book “The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education, he was subtle in using the nonsecular term  “metanoia” to describe the needed transformation. “The word metanoia is more suitable than transformation. Metanoia is a Greek word which means penitence, repentance, reorientation  of one’s way of life, spiritual conversion (emphasis mine).”  (Deming, The New Economic, first edition, p 95).
      • Deming died in 1993.  Later editions of The New Economics  replaced the term metanoia with “The First Step.”
    • Deming’s secular based strategy has not resulted in any significant degree of transformation to the new philosophy.
    • Deming identified four common components that have always been integral to making and sustaining a successful change in any area and at any level. On a personal level, think about a change you made that resulted in an improvement:
      • Motivation  – Why the need for change?  Did the motivation come from within (intrinsic) or was it driven by an external reward such as money fame, praise, prizes?
      • Action.  What did you do?  What was the process?
      • Feedback.  What information was used to assess results?  Did you achieve the expected result?
        • The “What’s New?” is being able to answer the question with an understanding of common and special causes of variation. Deming estimated that without this knowledge, 95% of changes can lead to no improvement.
        • Test your knowledge of the variation principle
      • Learning – The Story – what do you tell others about the experience? What knowledge was gained?
    • Deming referred to the four components in context of a system that could lead to profound knowledge. And Knowledge can lead to Wisdom.  Deming identified the components as consisting of Psychology (Motivation), Systems (Action), Variation (Feedback), and Knowledge (Learning).
    • Deming developed the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle to help guide improvement efforts.

PDSA Apologetic Based Examples – Application from the Perspective of God

  • Motivation: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
  • Action:  God gave His only begotten Son who provided the example for perfect, taught, provided examples, recruited disciples, was crucified, died, buried, and was resurrected.  His life validated prophecies in the Old Testament and his life and works are documented in the New Testament.
  • Feedback.  For over 2,000 years, individuals have accepted the truth of Christianity and embraced God’s plan for them. Many in turn have shared the gospel and brought even more people to Christ.
  • Learning.  The Apologetics Master Program at CCU is an example of building a capability to expand the number of apologists to reach even more people. And with current communication technologies, there are EVEN more opportunities to reach more people by providing the right message, at the right time to the right audience.

Additional Information:

My book (PDF): Success Through Quality – Support Guide for the Journey to Continuous Improvement by Timothy J. ClarkAn introductory but comprehensive overview of the history, methods, and basic tools of quality.  Examples include personal, family, society, government.  The book was published by the American Society for Quality’s – Quality Press.

The text includes an expanded description of variation that was accepted by the American Society for Quality and included in their glossary: “What is the Law of Variation?


SuccessThroughQuality.com – articles and application examples

Dr. Walter Shewhart – References

“Lastly, I would address one general admonition to all – that they consider what are the true ends of knowledge, and that they seek it not either for pleasure of the mind, or for contention, or for superiority to others, or for profit, or fame, or power, or any of these inferior things, but for the benefit and use of life…”  Sir Francis Bacon, 1561-1626


The Influnece of C I Lewis on Shewhart and Deming G T PETERSON, EXCELSIS BUSINESS ADVISERS

  • In their writings, both Shewhart and Deming quote the work of the philosopher C I Lewis.
    Statisticians or management advisers do not normally refer to philosophers. So what was it in C I
    Lewis that attracted Shewhart and Deming, and how can we see its influence in their teachings?
    This paper picks out the main themes in Lewis’s best-known book, Mind and the World Order1
    , and demonstrates how these themes relate to the core teachings of Shewhart and Deming. However, this should not be taken to imply that Shewhart or Deming based their ideas on this philosophy; rather it should be taken that they saw parallels in Mind and the World Order that enabled them to put their ideas in a rational, philosophical context.

Mind and the World-Order, by C.I. Lewis

Dr Mark Wilcox. Centre for Business Performance; Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Cranfield, United Kingdom. MK430AL

  • Shewhart’s control charts are a feature of statistical process control and linked to systems thinking. A system is a set of interconnected parts (processes) with a common purpose. A systemic view of the universe suggests that nothing ever ‘is’ (e.g. substance or static), but always in a state of ‘becoming’ (e.g. in flux). In this paper, I show how control charts are a semiotic device illustrating ‘being,’ ‘becoming’ and ‘prediction’. Articulating his work, Shewhart developed a discourse of flux as a means of describing the universe in motion.
    • “Semiotics” – The theory and study of signs and symbols, especially as elements of language or other systems of communication, and comprising semantics, syntactics, and pragmatics.

Recapturing the Spirit of Quality, Christina Mauléon
Göteborg, Sweden (2003)

  • It is well known that Walter A. Shewhart and W. Edwards Deming are seen as
    two of the founders of the modern quality movement. In this thesis, a review
    of their writings has been done, in order to reinvestigate the philosophical
    influences in their work.

Walter Shewhart ASQC 1967 – Articles highlighting his work and accomplishments.

Quality and Spirituality – by Tim J. Clark


Constitution – Originalist Position

CBNNEWS.COM Clarence Thomas: Scary Guy from the Right or Big-Hearted Believer?

05-27-2020 By Paul Strand
  • But he’s become famous for total dedication to the original meaning of the words in the US Constitution.
  • In fact, Jaffe said, “Scalia characterized him as ‘a bloodthirsty originalist.'”
  • In doing his research for his book, Rossum saw, again and again, this fierce dedication to figure out the Founders’ original intent.
    • What was the intention of those who drafted the Constitution in Philadelphia?” Rossum said Thomas is always asking. “What were the ends that they were attempting to achieve, what were the evils they were attempting to avert?”


Global Challenges to National Security

If China’s actions in the coronavirus catastrophe offer any window into this communist regime, it is that the threat they represent is unlike anything America has faced.  By 
  • John Poindexter is a former national security advisor. Robert McFarlane is a former national security advisor. Richard Levine is a former National Security Council director for policy development.
War Crime?
  • However, if U.S. intelligence services find proof that the PRC knew the virus escaped from its lab, or began in Wuhan some other way, yet locked down travel to other parts of China while permitting international travel from this city, at the time the Communist Party of China prevented essential international fact finding, this state committed what amounts to a war crime.
Precedence – How the U.S. reacted to past epidemics
  • Twice before this crisis, and in the living memory of many Americans, our nation has experienced pandemics. According to the CDC’s website, during the 1957 Asian Flu, “The estimated number of deaths was 1.1 million worldwide and 116,000 in the United States.”
  • The U.S. population in 1957 was 172 million; thus, adjusted for our present population, the Asian Flu would have killed 222,000 Americans. Of the 1968 Hong Kong Flu, the CDC has written, “The estimated number of deaths was 1 million worldwide and about 100,000 in the United States.” America’s population in 1968 was 201 million; adjusting for today, the Hong Kong Flu would have killed 164,000 Americans. Neither pandemic altered American economic life.
  • While some may argue the present pandemic could be much worse than the two that preceded it, the present dread, stoked by a foreign power, has certainly ruptured America’s economy in ways inconceivable before it.
  • The way we have answered this pandemic is not repeatable: our array of actions cannot be mounted if another wave or pandemic strikes. This is our gravest sin: we have shown China, Russia, and Iran, as well as terrorist actors, that our nation may be brought low if faced with a new pathogen.

Quality and Spirituality

Interesting post from a colleague on LinkedIn on the topic of Quality and Spirituality.

What Was Dr. Deming All About? Published on April 26, 2020, By Dave Nave, The Science & Artistry of Managing Well

My comment:  Dave Nave Thank you — Good topic and one that is rarely addressed. Deming’s work was “all about” reducing variation which is the foundation for his work and motivation inspired by his religious faith. He used the term “metanoia” to describe the needed transformation. Metanoia -” a transformative change of heart; especially: a spiritual conversion.” (See also the definition of born-again).

Deming indirectly linked the quality philosophy with biblical philosophy which introduces a “New Philosophy” or paradigm. Biblical philosophy identifies that God is perfect and man is imperfect but expected to improve.

Deming remarked that if he was to reduce his message to just a few words, it “all has to do with reducing variation.” e.g. reducing imperfection. Variation is a difference between the ideal (all human needs met) and the actual (imperfection).

Variation either gets better (more needs met) or it gets worse – cost (tangible and intangible), associated with needs not being met). Thus making the continual and continuous reduction of variation a moral imperative. Deming did not provide a definition of variation that provides the context for his work. I believe this was a deliberate decision and a challenge.

In summary, Deming was successful in developing and validating the proof of concept for a New Philosophy that may be added one day alongside the works of the other great philosophers in history.

I would end my comments with the question – How can Deming advocates be more successful in leading the transformation to the better philosophy and methods?

A suggestion for Foundation Principes for Quality Leaders.

Addition Information

Deming and references to his beliefs in Christianity.

  • Metanoia and Transformation II – Norman Todd , The Way, 52/2 (April 2013),
    • …  when I read the first edition of Deming’s book The New
      Economics, I found a short section that described a fundamental change
      of mind-set on which all subsequent organizational transformation
      depended. The section was headed ‘Metanoia’. In later editions it is
      retitled ‘The First Step’.
    • People who knew Dr Deming well have assured me that he was a
      sincere, practising Christian who played the organ in church and
      composed sacred music. But when I asked at his seminar if he
      had applied his teaching to the organization of the Church,
      he looked puzzled and said he had not.
    • If it is the particular newness of Deming’s First Step that is important
      there may be some parallel with the particular change of mindset
      (metanoia) requiring that everything from birth to death become new in
      the Kingdom of God. Without continuing metanoia the newness is lost
      and the old ways are resumed.

      • In the book of Revelation, in the letter to the angel of the church
        in Ephesus, the Spirit says, ” But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent and
        do the works you did at first. “(Revelation 2:4–5)
    • We must embrace the radical newness of life in Christ enjoyed by the
      apostolic Church, and follow the instruction of the angel of the Lord
      to the disciples when releasing them from prison in Acts 5:20.
      Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message
      about this life.

Foundation Principles for Quality Leaders

Principle:  A comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption (Merriam-Webster).

Variation. Individual and group capabilities in managing variation have always been the key to success at any age and in any aspect of life.

Assess your knowledge of variation?

Excellent quality.  The result of doing the right things, right.

  • Efficiency – doing things right.
  • Effectiveness – doing the right thing.

Responsibility. Within an organization, top management is responsible for quality because they are responsible for the design and execution of the systems. Systems determine the majority if not all in some cases, of the result.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    • How do “We”  describe more perfect or better?
    • What feedback do “We” need to assess progress?
    • What methods will “We” use to assess that change resulted in an improvement?

Reducing variation. The key to achieving excellent quality

  • Law of Variation – American Society for Quality
    • Everything and everyone varies – no two people or things are ever exactly alike. The closer things are to the optimum or ideal, the higher the quality and lower the costs (tangible and intangible).

Variation either gets better or it gets worse as defined by one or more individuals. (1)

  • Example: Health care is a human need that will never be perfectly met. Improvement that leads to greater access means fewer people go unserved.

ImprovementReducing variation from the ideal.

  • Standard:  Actions to improve a process and system result an outcome(s) where everyone affected by the change in the near, mid and long-term – benefits or at least, are not any worse off in the long-term. Everybody wins.
  • Ideal – Represents a standard of perfection that is uniquely defined, dynamic, and can never be perfectly met.
    • Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” –
      Vince Lombardi
  • Continuous and Continual.
    • Continuous – uninterrupted in time; without a break – 24×7.
    • Continual – regular or frequent; with a break.
    • Example: I maintain my car on a continual basis and expect the travel system to be continuously improved.

Four interrelated areas that are common to any successful change.  Anyone that has successfully made and sustained a positive change has reduced variation. There are four interrelated areas that are an integral component of change.

  • Motivation – Desire for a change.
    • Extrinsic – driven by a reward or punishment.
    • Intrinsic –  do it for the love of it, feels right, fun, enjoyable, aligns with purpose
  • Action. All action is accomplished through a process in the context of a system.
    • Process – Transforms inputs into outputs that meet expected outcomes.
    • System – A system is a collection of processes with a common aim. Systems determine 85-100% of the result.  
    • Aim. An ideal aim of a system is to meet a human need (s).
    • Example. A daily commute to work or school is accomplished through a process (habit) that is made possible by a transportation system. The aim of the system includes allowing for a safe, economical, convenient, and enjoyable trip. The system includes the needed infrastructure (roads, bridges), energy (gas, electric), technology (cars, planes, trains, bicycles) statutes and regulations, licensing, insurance, law enforcement, et.al.
  • Feedback
    • Variation either gets better (more needs being met) or it gets worse (the same or fewer needs are being met).
    • Quantitative – Numbers
    • Qualitative – Words
    • Example: In the case of commuting, quantitative would include time and expense. Qualitative would include your description of the experience regarding safety, road conditions, the behavior of other drivers, etc.
  • Learning – The Story
    • We often share our story with others of a change that was made with others that describe what was done, why, what was learned, the result, and maybe any surprises that were discovered along the way.

Application Frameworks

Context.  The broader perspective that supports the value of the change:

Systems of Profound Knowledge (SoPK). Dr. W Edwards Deming developed a comprehensive theory of management. that integrates four interrelated areas. These areas and the concept in a more common context (in parentheses) are identified below:

  • Psychology  (Motivation)
  • Appreciation for a system (Action)
    • In his book When Jesus Came to Harvard, Making Moral Choices Today, Harvey Cox made the following observation regarding moral choices:
      • “…. there has been an emerging convergence of the two ways of thinking that includes the consequences of action and inaction.”
      • “We can now do great evil without intending to. What we need today is more awareness, a wider recognition of how vast systems we are caught up in can do terrible things and how we can contribute to evil without even being conscious of it.”
  • Knowledge of variation,  (Feedback)
  • Theory of knowledge (Learning)

The academic and business case that supports the foundation for the SoPK and Executive Decision Making was developed by Dr. Gregory H. Watson.

Variation either gets better or it gets worse

  • The Taguchi Loss Function. The more a product deviates from the ideal (nominal, optimum), the higher the cost to society.
  • W. Edwards Deming: “Anything less than optimization of the whole system will bring eventual loss to every component in the system” (W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, p.53)

Leading Change – “Critical Mass” of leaders required.  Deming estimated that the number of leaders needed to achieve critical mass could be calculated as the square root of the number of people in the organization. So a critical mass for a hundred person organization would be 10 people.

A Way Ahead – Local Farmers Market Controversies

 A Better Way to Deal with the Bloomington Farmers Market Controversy

By Timothy (Tim) J. Clark

Updated Oct 8, 2019.

The effects of the controversy involving the Bloomington Farmers Market (BFM) identify an opportunity to take a fresh look at the methods and strategies for how the community addresses challenging issues.

The methods applied so far to address the BFM situation have resulted in a reduction in market attendance from 40,000 to 16,000. They have also resulted in unflattering local and national attention, which attracted the interest of what is perceived to be far-right and far-left groups. These groups’ involvement contributed to the perceived need to shut down the market for two weeks. This shutdown had an adverse economic impact on almost all the vendors.

To help prevent actions that can lead to violence within a community, the Department of Homeland Security proposes applying a whole-of-society approach that would have to be supported at the local level of government.

The controversy does not appear to be ending anytime soon, so a better process is needed to resolve the BFM issue as well as any other problems that arise in the future. The development of an enhanced capability for problem resolution and decision making will have practical benefits within the community, Indiana, and the nation.

Inspiration for this better problem-solving approach can be found in the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. system of government is designed to enable “We the People” to continually work together toward the ideal of “a more perfect Union.”   Working toward “a more perfect Union” requires continually improving the strategies and methods that will result in achieving outcomes where everyone benefits or at least is not any worse off in the long-term. This requires addressing a few questions, including:

  1. As a community, how do “We the People” describe and define “more perfect” — that is, what is the ideal?
  2. What feedback will need to be collected to assess progress in working toward the ideal in the near-, mid-, and long-term?
  3. What methods will be applied to assess whether the changes made to the system are resulting in improvement?

Indiana University (IU) could prove to be an important resource when addressing the first question, as it has gone through the process of defining its ideal. IU’s strategic plan identifies its ideal as being “one of the great research universities of the twenty-first century.” This vision includes “Engaging in the economic, social, civic, and cultural development of Indiana, the nation, and the world by building on the base of excellence in research and education.”

IU could also be a good resource when answering the second question. Its research strategy could be reviewed and assessed to get an idea of the types of feedback that could be collected and where to get it. This feedback would need to include qualitative and quantitative data.

Finally, Walter A. Shewhart and W. Edwards Deming have developed methods that should be used to determine whether changes are resulting in improvement for everyone. Shewhart developed methods that can be used to close the gap between the actual situation and the ideal. These improvement methods have been integrated within the International Organization for Standardization standards.

Deming developed a philosophy that supports Shewhart’s methods. Deming estimated in 1986 that it would be another 50 years (2036) until the new philosophy and methods were more commonly acknowledged in liberal education, science, and industry.

Reducing the gap between the current situation and the ideal requires the continual application of better methods for making changes that “We the People” will conclude result in systemic improvements. The controversy with the BFM provides an opportunity to experiment with the new philosophy and methods.