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Mike Richman


Happy World Standards Day

Taking time out to honor those who make standardization possible

Published: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 - 15:11

Did you know that World Standards Day (being celebrated today) and Earth Day both began in the year 1970? How about the fact that Oct. 14 was chosen as the date because that was the day in 1946 when the delegates of what was to become the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) first met in post-war London? Want a weird coincidental World Standards Day fact? Today is W. Edwards Deming’s birthday; he was born on Oct. 14, 1900. Here’s another interesting tidbit: Each year, ISO, along with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), choose a special standards-related theme for the day. This year’s theme is a noble one: “Standards for Accessibility,” focusing on the development of the products, services, and systems that make the planet more accessible to those with special needs.

Standards help define our increasingly complex and interrelated world. Within the realm of business, standards tend to level the playing field for companies, whether they’re located in Bangor, Bangalore, or Bangladesh. But standards are not just about business competitiveness; the benefits of standardization are also employed and enjoyed, consciously or not, by millions of people each day, in everything from food quality and industrial safety to environmental protection and the proper functioning of gaming systems.

But more than anything else, World Standards Day is about the thousands of individuals who make standardization possible. Many, many experienced professionals in various fields dedicate their time to the thankless task of shepherding drafts of new or revised standards through innumerable committee meetings and multiple rounds of review. The results are standards that have been thoroughly vetted and pruned by the best minds in the field. It is to these standards developers, as well as the volunteers that promote and manage the various standards that result from this work, that World Standards Day is devoted. Your work too often goes unnoticed, but not today.

Let’s not forget those who formed a public opinion—the individuals who took the time to provide feedback and offer suggestions during the drafting of standards. Their insight is greatly appreciated and invaluable to the process.

So, from all of us at Quality Digest to all of you, thanks. Your efforts make our world a better place.


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Mike Richman