1. South African Quality Institutes Latest News

    August 23, 2012 by admin
    South African Quality Institute (SAQI)

    South African Quality Institute (SAQI) http://www.saqi.co.za is the national body that co-ordinates the Quality effort in South Africa.

    In the July newsletter “Quality Edge” there are a number of interesting articles such as the “Future of ISO9001” and the current concerns with ISO 9001 as seen from a Japanese perspective. Visit of SAQI MD Paul Harding to Kazakhstan to speak at the VII International Quality Forum, the regular column by Dr Richard Hayward about quality in schools where he talk about the need to be  “persistent”, tool-making and the role of the quality auditors and quality professionals by Paul Harding.

    Click here to download this newsletter.

    In the August newsletter “Quality Edge” the 2nd article on the “Future of ISO9001” and the current concerns with ISO 9001 as seen from a Japanese perspective is provided. South African Revenue Services were awarded the Platinum status for quality, there is an article about embedding quality thinking into the organisational culture by Monde Mekute, and Paul Naysmith talks about the audit process and the different types of audits.

    Click here to download this newsletter.

    Ahmed Abbas
    BPIR.com


  2. Creativity: Finding Creative Space

    August 22, 2012 by admin
    Creativity is an essential part of innovation. Creativity requires the two sides of the brain working together; right side for imagination and the left side for logic and planning.Creativity is one of the best ways to set an organisation apart from its competitors therefore creativity is a core competency for leaders and managers.

    Many people think that creativity can’t be taught and either you have it or you don’t. Well, this is a wrong perception. Research shows that everyone has creative abilities and the more training received, the greater potential for creative output.

    One of the factors that improves creativity is setting up the right environment  for creativity.

    Below is an interesting article by James Harrington  about setting up a creative space.

     


    People often call on their creative powers only when they’re faced with a problem. This is unfortunate because underutilizing this gift results in a reactive rather than a proactive approach to creativity. Individuals need to develop and use both their proactive and reactive creative powers to make maximum use of their creative potential.
    Individuals or groups are motivated to become creative for different reasons. The most common are:
    • A significant emotional or traumatic event (e.g., your car doesn’t start in the morning, so you need to create a new way to get to work)
    • Playfulness, brainstorming, or listing new ways to come up with something (e.g., a new way to serve a hot dog, such as on a stick)
    • Systematic, purposeful creativity. The objective is to fill a void or come up with a better way to do something. It needn’t be playful or problem-solving in nature.
    • To satisfy a personal desire. Some individuals are driven to look at things in a different way, or they feel the need to be creative.
    Creativity can occur at any time and any place. Sometimes we’re very creative; at other times, it’s just impossible to pluck out an original thought. We can do a lot to prepare ourselves to become more creative. To become creative, the following three conditions must be present:
    • Time. Extra time is often required to develop and sell a creative solution that isn’t in line with an individual’s or organization’s culture.
    • Environment. It’s difficult to be truly creative when you’re continually interrupted by phone calls, questions, or children climbing onto your lap.
    • Success. Nothing gets Felix’s attention better than when we’re recognized because we come up with creative new solutions.
    Our emotions and actions are directed by our preconceived notions about the environment in which we find ourselves. We enter a library and begin to talk softly and move carefully. We go to a party and laugh and smile more. We go to work and become more conservative, reserved, and formal. This behavior is not only acceptable, it’s expected. We’ve been trained to conform to the expectations related to a given environment or situation.

    It’s a good idea to set aside a specific location where you can exercise your creativity. It doesn’t have to be a grand place: It could be a workbench in the garage or an old desk in the cellar behind the furnace. In my case, it’s a desk in a small back bedroom. The important thing is that in your mind – as well as in your family’s or business associates’ minds – it’s your space, and there are specific rules associated with it:

    • Rule 1: No interruptions are tolerated unless it’s an emergency.
    • Rule 2: The clean-desk policy doesn’t apply here. Don’t take time to organize the work area, and make it clear that it’s out of bounds to your spouse and or co-workers.
    • Rule 3: Make your creative place visual. Use lots of Post-its to write down your good ideas, and stick them up around your area. Make sketches and flow diagrams and put them on the walls, too. Put up interesting pictures and change them often. Your creative place should stimulate ideas, not impress others.
    • Rule 4: Create a relaxed atmosphere. Have a comfortable chair, one that you can lean back in while your mind goes blank and opens to creative thoughts. Have furniture that you can put your feet on. Choose a spot that’s not too hot or cold.
    • Rule 5: Have the right equipment. Be prepared to be flooded with new ideas. When they come, you need to be able to capture them rapidly. Things that can be useful are:
      • A computer
      • Lots of paper
      • Colored markers
      • A tape recorder
      • A CD or tape player
      • A filing system
      • A corkboard
      • A bookcase
    • Rule 6: Have a focal point. This is something that relaxes you when you look at it. It could be a window that you look out of or a small aquarium. An ocean scene or an abstract painting works well.
    Each person’s creative place is unique because it must fit into his or her individual personality. Does this mean that it’s the only place where you’ll be creative? No. It’s a lot like the treadmill you buy and put in your house to jog on. When you get on the treadmill, you don’t start eating a sandwich; you start to jog. Just because you have a treadmill doesn’t mean you can’t jog around the block.

  3. Small Business Breakthrough Survey – Benchmark Your Business

    August 21, 2012 by admin
    The Breakthrough Survey is the cornerstone of the Small Business Breakthrough Project. It has been designed to identify the specific steps that you can take to accelerate your company’s growth and make its success more predictable.The initial set of goals are to:

    • Identify the ROI (return on investment) associated with improving key aspects of a business as defined by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework:
    1. 1.    Leadership
    2. 2.    Strategic Planning
    3. 3.    Customer/Market Focus
    4. 4.    Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management
    5. 5.    Workforce Focus
    6. 6.    Operations Focus
    • Identify ways that best management practices (as defined by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework) can make business success more predictable. Specifically, we want to dramatically improve the success rate of smaller companies. Currently about 70% of businesses fail in their first seven years.
    • Identify an optimal path for an organization to adopt best-practices at four distinctive growth stages (inflection points) of development:
    1. 1.    Phase Zero: planning/startup
    2. 2.    Phase One: initial growth
    3. 3.    Phase Two: ebbing growth
    4. 4.    Phase Three: growth plateau

    As a survey participant you will receive updates of the results of the research every time you return to re-benchmark your business.

     This survey was developed by Small Business Breakthrough Project

  4. BPIR Best Practice Newsletter No. 4 – 2012

    August 15, 2012 by admin

    Check out our latest BPIR newsletter:

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  5. Web Services – Ultra Fast Broadband increases the demand for video

    by admin
     Taryn Hamilton, [1] from internet service provider Orcon, writes that in a bid to boost productivity the NZ government has committed $1.5 billion towards providing fibre optic cable to three quarters of Kiwi homes and businesses. The expected improvements in productivity, competitiveness and standard of living will come about by how businesses actually use the new technology to their advantage. In the UK and Europe higher broadband speeds have seen the uptake of watching video over the Internet skyrocket.  It is predicted that 90 percent of traffic growth on the Internet in the coming years will comprise video transmissions for both work use and for leisure viewing. Driven by video, Internet traffic is predicted to grow some 400 percent by the end of 2013 – which is not too far away!  In the UK, the BBC’s iPlayer radio and TV service recently accounted for between 20 and 25 percent of Internet traffic. A similar percentage of internet traffic was experienced by US, Netflix’ online TV and movie streaming services.  Cloud computing coupled with ultra fast broadband services have created an opportunity for businesses to minimise costs and improve productivity.

    [1] Hamilton, T., (2011), Get ready for UFB, NZ Business, Vol 25, Iss 6, p 53, Adrenalin Publishing Ltd., Auckland

    Neil Crawford
    BPIR