Can ISO 9000 Hinder Organization Learning/Innovation LO24206

From: John Zavacki (
Date: 03/20/00

Replying to LO24194 --

I have worked with several organizations which have been required to
operate with ISO9000, QS9000, and earlier, Military Standards for "Quality
Systems". Their effect on a system depends on the orientation of the
systems designer. If the AIM is compliance, they will become
bureaucracies. If it is never ending improvement, they will provide fine
checkpoints for progress.

The problem with standards is NOT that they confine or constrain. They
don't. They are MINIMUM standards, sine qua nons of a continuous
improvement system. They are the basis of knowledge management, if you
will, things like document control, design control, etc. provide feedback
loops to the practitioner. Management responsibility and quality system
clauses ensure that the mental models of lean thinking are set in such a
way that they guarantee adequate resources, etc.

We can complain about these standards or use them to ensure that we have
the infrastructure that will guarantee us a stable platform for growing
openess, honesty, and trust in an organization. They help us, like a
pilot's checklist, to do all of the little things that make systems work
before we take off for the next level of creativity and learning.

John F. Zavacki <>


"John Zavacki" <>

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