In his blog this month, ASQ CEO, Paul Borawski writes about taking quality well beyond its normal definition.
The everyday person might define quality as simply the absence of defects. While technically correct, this is only a small part of what "quality" practices can and should deliver for organizations. This narrow definition, while applicable in industries such as manufacturing, does very little to support service industries such as healthcare, athletics, and entertainment.
If we broaden our definition of quality to include: "the delivery of products and services that create value for customers", that immediately gets us thinking differently. First, quality includes tangible goods as well as intangible services and processes. Second, it's not enough to be defect-free; our products must create value by enriching the lives of our customers. And third, quality requires us to be forward thinking - going beyond what customers want today and towards what they'll need in the future (even if they don't know it yet).
Quality is innovation. It requires creativity, invention, perseverance, and the endless pursuit of perfection. These types of values are universal across all industries and organizations.