Management system objectives and planning

Management system standards – such as ISO 9001 and others titled ISO xx001 – advise that the purposeful organisation should establish and maintain realistic objectives; and it should then plan its systems and operations to meet these objectives. The standards do not prescribe how to define this as a process. I find it helpful to picture the organisation as a thinking Pacman, munching its way through ‘objectives-nourishing’ opportunities – while it avoids swallowing any detracting risks. Continue reading “Management system objectives and planning”

Stretch vs cautious targets

As rule of thumb, for most systems, there is nearly always 30% improvement to be foreseeably gained, under ideal perfect conditions. And, if the 30% where to be realised then there is nearly always a further 30% improvement to be found in the remainder and so on. The trouble is that we rarely operate under ideal conditions and with perfect foresight. There are invariably constraints on us, which make it practically impossible to straightforwardly see and reach the available 30%. Although some of these constraints may be deemed to be outside our control, most tend in fact to be more within our control that we immediately thinks – if we just we are brave enough to accept the fact.

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Medical hearables for hearing loss

There are good reasons for wanting to alleviate middle-age hearing loss (HL):

    • People with untreated HL are twice as likely to feel left behind in job and salary prospects[1a].
    • People with untreated HL are 2.5 times more likely to suffer major depression disorders[1b].
    • Middle-age HL is a key risk factor that contributes 9% of dementia[2].
    • Untreated HL costs the UK £25.5 billion (US$32 billion) each year[3].
    • Untreated HL costs the world community at least US$750 billion each year[4].

Yet, most people with HL do not get hearing help. Here is why.

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Navigating solution space

Solution space is abstract, multi-dimensional and non-convex. The space contains known and partially explored optimum solutions, which are illustrated here as hilltops. Areas of solution space are inaccessible to us, either because someone else have established the Intellectual Property Rights to it or because it represents a ‘void’ in our own design or production capabilities – i.e. the solution depends on a materials or technique that is outside our organisation’s skills set. Continue reading “Navigating solution space”

Evidence-based decision making

Decision making is the forming of a causal argument that a chosen alternative will result a certain future outcome. The quality of a decision is largely dependent on the accuracy and relevance of the information on which it is based – as well as being free from subjective bias in reflecting the true needs. When poor quality or biased evidence is used for decision making, the proposed alternative will risk producing an ineffective or adverse outcome. Standards, such as ISO 9001 on quality management and ISO 16355 on QFD, therefore calls for factual decision information. Continue reading “Evidence-based decision making”

Functional vs process team groupings

Fact of the matter is that customers don’t really care what goes on inside an organisation. They raise a need and simply expect to receive a corresponding product in return. But this customer perspective is rarely what is foremost being discussed day-to-day inside the organisation. Although all the different operational areas have an overall common goal, they can often have differing and possibly even conflicting day-to-day aims. Continue reading “Functional vs process team groupings”