Total quality management

a barrier to innovation

This article argues that gaining market leadership requires breakthrough innovation and that Total Quality Management (TQM), by focusing on the minutiae of the quality process and emphasizing incremental innovation, actually discourages breakthrough innovation. Most companies with TQM programs focus on existing work methods and emphasize measurement, analysis, and control in a way that discourages creativity. Among the potential remedies suggested by this article are: encourage a learning orientation; create long-term goals; embrace both incremental and breakthrough innovation; create cross-functional collaboration; teach teamwork; teach people to access their creative potential; and do not regard TQM as the solution for every organization.
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