Training Article

Jesse Allred’s picture

By: Jesse Allred

Imagine a manufacturing facility prioritizing cleanliness and organization—aisles are kept clear, equipment is well maintained, the plant floor is regularly cleaned, operators can easily locate tools, and materials are always stored in the right place. All employees contribute to managing work spaces, creating a culture of efficiency and quality.

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

Companies and societies are at the precipice of rebuilding their foundations to compete in an age of advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). Yet, in the real economy—or in the world outside the tech companies—I see more struggle than success in making advanced analytics and AI a management discipline.

Most leaders in these companies recognize that the perfect storm of big data, computing capacity, and algorithmic advances has arrived. They hear about spectacular use cases such as AI outperforming trained radiologists in detecting retinopathy in preemies. Research also shows that text analytics of earnings calls reveal that executives’ use of euphemisms (think “headwinds”) obscures the details of bad news and delays negative investor reaction. Yet, many leaders feel unsure about this new environment and are struggling to extract value from these cutting-edge technologies.

Ben Aston’s picture

By: Ben Aston

A large portion of a digital project manager’s job is making sure the right parts of the project are being worked on. Projects need to be prioritized. Tasks within projects need to be prioritized, too.

Plan View’s Project and Portfolio Management Landscape Report found that prioritization was consistently the second biggest challenge that organizations face. Also, McKinsley surveyed 1,500 professionals and found that only 9 percent were happy with their time allocation.

Many famous writers, businesspeople, and global influencers have stressed the importance of getting your priorities in order.

Mark Twain famously said, “To change your life, you need to change your priorities.”

The same applies to project management.

Lisa Cohen’s picture

By: Lisa Cohen

A recent study showing that data entry is one the most redundant and hated workplace tasks raises questions about why, in the age of artificial intelligence, data mining, and smart technologies, this task is still being done manually.

Is there any way it could be less despised?

My ongoing fieldwork in a data-driven startup, referred to as Sage (a real company, but not its real name due to confidentiality requirements), suggests that technological solutions are not nearly as sophisticated as many assume—and are not going to replace human data entry any time soon.

For nearly two years, I’ve been studying the evolution of Sage’s hiring practices and jobs.

Jackie Mader’s picture

By: Jackie Mader

Walk into any K-5 classroom in Illinois’ Rockford Public Schools, and there’s one thing you’re guaranteed to see: kids playing with Legos. Although it may look like unstructured free time, kids in Rockford are actually hard at work when the Legos are out—building historical homes, constructing ramps, and designing amusement park rides.

Lego play is a critical part of the district’s efforts to introduce science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts early, and in an engaging way. In 2018, the district began training educators on how to use special kits from Lego Education to teach STEM skills—and, in the process, concepts like cause and effect and problem solving. This school year, teachers are using Legos to help kids learn concepts from all subject areas, including literacy, history, and science. “Just to talk about [STEM concepts] abstractly is difficult at that level,” said Susan Uram, educational technology coordinator for Rockford Public Schools. “But if they can build something... they’re understanding in a concrete way.”

Matthew Hora’s picture

By: Matthew Hora

When her college started requiring students to complete an internship in order to graduate, it created a serious dilemma for Janelle.

“I wouldn’t be able to do classes, do the internship, and work to make money—which is kind of important because I’m basically just paying for school as I can,” Janelle said in an interview for a study of internships during her junior year in South Carolina.

Janelle is by no means alone. Of the 1,060 students at five colleges and universities who answered “no” to having taken an internship for our University of Wisconsin–Madison based College Internship Study survey, 676—or 64 percent—stated that they had actually hoped to take an internship but could not. The schools were located in Maryland, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Christine Schaefer’s picture

By: Christine Schaefer

Robert Rouzer is retired, but he may be busier than ever as a Baldrige volunteer. In recent years, Rouzer has served not only as a Baldrige examiner for the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, but also as a state-level examiner for two Baldrige-based award programs that are part of the nonprofit Alliance for Performance Excellence. (The Alliance is a network of programs that partner with the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program to help organizations of any size, sector, and state to adopt the Baldrige Excellence Framework to improve their performance.)

Before his retirement in 2015, Rouzer was University of Illinois-Chicago executive associate director of Campus Auxiliary Services and assistant to the vice chancellor for Student Affairs. In the following interview, he describes some of the gratifying experiences that have kept him involved in Baldrige volunteer work year after year.

Robert Rouzer

Taran March @ Quality Digest’s picture

By: Taran March @ Quality Digest

At the University of California at San Diego, lean concepts have taken hold. Along with its process improvement curriculum, the university applies what it teaches through initiatives around campus. Projects both complex and simple tackle the snags, waste, and bottlenecks of academic life. Students, as both customers and process output, learn about lean Six Sigma (LSS) tools and use them to improve their college experience. UC San Diego has become, in effect, its own moonshine shop.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for most public schools and colleges elsewhere in the country.

Benjamin Kessler’s picture

By: Benjamin Kessler

It’s generally accepted that large organizations, for a host of structural and cultural reasons, are at a disadvantage when it comes to innovation. Less agreed upon is why their employees outside of R&D should care. Can’t acquisitions and partnerships make up the creative deficit?

Think again, counsels Manuel Sosa, INSEAD associate professor of technology and operations management, in a recent interview for the INSEAD Knowledge podcast. Sosa says that the fruits of innovation—novel, valuable products and services—should not be confused with the tree itself.

First and foremost, innovation is a process for conceiving “novel and useful” solutions, which is necessary for business and career success, no matter where you’re sitting in an industry or organization. The fruits can easily be bought and sold, but planting, cultivating, and harvesting know-how is far less transferable. For the neophyte, learning to innovate requires diligence, patience, and (most of all) direct collaboration with skillful role models.

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

In the context of our increasingly disrupted, globalizing, and multicultural world, quality leaders greatly appreciate the security and comfort of clear-cut strategic plans for the future. After all, following our in-the-moment intuitions frequently leads to business disasters, and strategic plans help prevent such problems.

Tragically, popular strategic analyses meant to address the weaknesses of human thinking are deeply flawed. They give a false sense of comfort and security to quality professionals who use them, leading them into the exact business disasters that they seek to avoid.

Take one of the most popular of them, the SWOT analysis, where you try to figure out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing your business. SWOT doesn’t account for the dangerous errors of judgement revealed by recent research in behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience, what scholars call cognitive biases.

Syndicate content