Innovation vs Quality Control, A Non-Existent Battle

The thought of Quality Control makes most people cringe and start hiding stuff. That hiding stuff method of living is problematic for me and I spend most of my time trying to get people to fess up to their mistakes so they can find ways of overcoming limitations. I fight this in my own life, it’s called “living an examined life” and I’m not saying it’s easy, just more rewarding.

Innovation and Quality Control are mutually beneficial, not warring philosophies. Quality Control seeks to improve processes, searches for ways to save money, explores new methodologies to improve P/L Statements as well as product and service improvements. As QC Manager I must be careful not to allow my procedures to discourage innovative thinking. Mistakes are mistakes…I hate them but I don’t want to pull them out from under the rug just to berate a new victim. I want to look at our mistakes and openly discuss new methodologies that will help us prevent them from happening again.

Mistakes are opportunities for innovation.

I’ve been called a perfectionist before, to my dismay. Perfectionism is not really an encouragement for innovation, it’s an inhibitor. Perfectionists tend to avoid participating in activities they don’t understand or in which they are not proficient. If they have to stretch, have to allow themselves to make mistakes then they are more likely to avoid participating. How can you be an innovative thinker if you’re unwilling to explore the unknown? Impossible.

Creating a culture that allows individuals to openly embrace the possibility of making mistakes means making it safe for them to make mistakes. This tendency to hide stuff stems from fearing consequences of making mistakes, like a two-year-old with chocolate all over their face insisting they have no idea what happened to the cookies. It’s a learned response from childhood so I understand it but that fear limits our ability to become better at whatever we’re doing. Stagnation. Ugh, I hate it…I fight it daily in my own life. I do not want to grow old and stale and set in my ways with no hope of learning and growing. Once that happens, it’s time for a kick in the seat of my jeans. …Hey! Is that a line forming?! Back off! I’m not stale yet!

The first thing a QC Manager has to do is create the culture of innovation. Only then can they tackle the areas that need improvement and that is with the entire team participating, innovating and creating process improvements on their own.

Stacy Brown


About Wait! Wait! I've Got an Idea!

I love to talk about what makes us squirm...that's always where the truth is.
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