Georgia Institute of Technology’s picture

By: Georgia Institute of Technology

We couldn’t pass this story up. Sure, this toy isn’t anywhere near as accurate as a Steinbichler or Capture3D or Breukmann or any of the others, but it is really cool.

Leave it to an iPhone app developer to turn a tool that cost hundreds of dollars a year ago into something that can be done with a 99-cent app. Grant Schindler, research scientist in Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, created Trimensional, the first app that allows users with an iPhone 4, iPad 2, or recent iPod Touch to take 3-D scans of faces or other objects and share them by e-mail. Now in the latest update, users can also e-mail animated videos of their 3-D models. For a few dollars more, artists and designers can even export their creation to CAD programs or 3-D applications such as Maya.

Trimensional works by using the iPhone’s screen to shine four different lighting patterns on the subject while also using the device’s front-facing camera to snap photos. It produces a full 3-D model that you can zoom into, pan around, and view from any angle.

Arun Hariharan’s picture

By: Arun Hariharan

In part one of this article, the technique of root cause analysis (RCA) was explained using simple examples. Part two contains a detailed list of critical success factors to get maximum results from your RCA. These are based on lessons learned from experience, including mistakes made. Because RCA and other quality techniques are more common in manufacturing, several of the examples in this article are drawn from service industries to offer a broader perspective. The article is equally relevant in manufacturing and service businesses as well as government and nonprofit organizations.

The technique of RCA is summarized in figure 1 below. We will continue to refer to it in this article as we look at the various critical success factors and lessons learned in RCA.

(Click image to enlarge)

Jim Benson’s picture

By: Jim Benson

There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking.  —Alfred Korzybski

Over the last several years, I’ve studied a lot of processes and watched communities grow around them. I’ve been a member of many of these communities. As processes gain credibility, they generate excitement. As excitement mounts, the human desire for perfection plays a funny trick on us: We begin to identify with the process.

The fact that we get our Black Belts or certifications doesn’t help with this. We’ve now invested ourselves in the process, and we want to use it. And why not? By and large these processes are pretty cool. We see ways they can make life better. And we love taking the easy way out, so we treat the process as an absolute.

But by now we’ve all read the news that the map is not the territory.

A guy named Alfred Korzybski said this, and if you don’t know him, you should. He was a smart guy. He is the father of something called general semantics, which basically says that language is fallible and it messes with our minds, our relationships, and our ability to get things done.

Art Petty’s picture

By: Art Petty

When we focus on not failing, fear rents most of the space in our minds, and we see monsters in need of slaying everywhere we turn. We lose track of the original vision that propelled our actions, and the sheer act of working becomes at best a passionless exercise and at worst, drudgery.

Sadly, many leaders provide fuel for the “don’t fail” machine through their actions. Show me a project team or functional group that exhibits all the energy and passion of a collection of late-night television zombies, and I’ll guarantee there’s one or more dysfunctional and often micro-managing leader at the source of this environmental problem.

Often, these leaders are motivated by some perverse view that success comes from not having their name associated with screwing up. As a result, their every motivation is to make certain you and your co-workers achieve that objective. Although they may succeed in helping their teams navigate the issues of “not failing,” these leaders suck the life out of their teams in the process.

Michelle LaBrosse’s picture

By: Michelle LaBrosse

Are you proactive or reactive in your work and personal life? Think about your career. Do you jump on tasks as they pop up, putting out fires as you go? Now consider your weekend. Do you wait until plans come to you, or do you make plans to ensure that you are having the kind of free time that you want with family and friends?

Much stress in life comes from not feeling in control and maintaining a state of reactivity to deal with issues and problems that arise. The good news is that there is another way! When you learn simple project management (PM) processes, you can reduce your stress load in every facet of your life. Here at Cheetah Learning, we call this “being a Cheetah.” Cheetahs don’t allow stress to control them; they strategically plan out the best route to achieve success, and they stick with it. To be a Cheetah, there are some important concepts to remember.

Minitab LLC’s picture

By: Minitab LLC

Ford Motor Co. is one of the largest automakers in the United States, producing millions of automobiles each year at 70 plants worldwide. According to J. D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Survey, Ford has received more top rankings than any other automaker since 2007. It’s no surprise that high quality standards have kept Ford an industry leader since 1903. And Ford knows that quality begins at a vehicle’s launch. When a cosmetic problem with the vehicle’s carpet threatened the impending launch of the 2011 Ford Fiesta, the company’s body interior Six Sigma team saw a clear opportunity for quality improvement through proven optimization methods. In its quest to maintain high customer satisfaction and performance, the team used Minitab Statistical Software to help eliminate the carpet defect and achieve a successful launch.

The Un-Comfort Zone With Robert Wilson’s picture

By: The Un-Comfort Zone With Robert Wilson

“Who wants to give their oral report first?” asked Mrs. Davis, my sixth grade teacher.

The dreaded day had finally arrived when each of us would have to stand in front of the room and speak to the class. The butterflies in my stomach were flapping up a tornado.

Not a single hand went up. In fact, there was no movement in the room at all. There wasn’t a desk creaking under the shifting weight of a single body, no paper rustling, no pencils scratching, not even a cough—nothing. The room had never been quieter. Every kid was sitting as still as a statue. The anxiety in the classroom was palpable.

“If someone doesn’t volunteer, then I will start picking you at random,” Mrs. Davis warned.

Every student suddenly wished for invisibility. I saw a few heads bow in the hopes of achieving it. But mostly I saw wide-eyed fright—the deer-in-the-headlights look—predominate in the room.

She started scanning the room and said, “OK, then I’ll choose...”

I couldn’t take it anymore; I just wanted to get it over with. Almost involuntarily, my hand shot up. Then to my surprise, unexpected benefits started coming my way immediately.

Mrs. Davis began praising me for my courage. She said that I would set the standard by which everyone following me would be judged.

William A. Levinson’s picture

By: William A. Levinson

The first part of this article illustrated the kinds of problems that can happen when data from non-normal processes are plotted on traditional control charts, and when traditional process capability assessments are applied to these data. This second part will show what to do about these problems.


Angelo Lyall’s picture

By: Angelo Lyall

Leaders and managers are faced with difficult decisions every day. Even process-level decisions must be made with the firm’s overall strategy in mind. The difficulty is that business strategy is a topic that is often described in complex or unclear terms, leaving the reader still incapable of making strategically sound decisions.

Transitioning from my formal background in economics to my career in business, I was challenged to teach strategy to many firms without numbing the audience with mindless economic graphs of the demand curve and strategic progressions. As a result, I have developed a series of easier-to-read diagrams that more simply and clearly explain business strategies. By asking a series of logical questions, we can understand how strategies arise, how they work, and their implications. This article is designed to give the reader more clarity about the topic of business strategy to help guide everyday leadership and management decisions.

What is an advantage?

Webster’s defines an advantage as “a superiority of position or condition” or a “benefit resulting from some course of action.”

H. James Harrington’s picture

By: H. James Harrington

Back in 1986 I documented a list of 13 fundamental truths that applied to all organizations. I ran across these statements recently when I was looking for some comments made by a past IBM president that I wanted to use in a new book I am writing. As I thought back over the past 25 years, I realized that as quality professionals, we have spearheaded a lot of new approaches: total quality management (TQM), ISO 9001, ISO 14000, lean, Six Sigma, business process improvement, process reengineering, knowledge management, organizational change management, theory of constraints, and many more. But to my surprise, there has still been no change in the fundamental truths I wrote about 25 years ago. Even the latest trend, innovation, was incorporated in the fifth truth.

The following are the 13 fundamental truths as defined in 1986:
1. All organizations, companies, divisions, sections, departments, units, teams, and projects should have a documented mission that links them into a chain that holds the organization together, keeping it directed at pulling in all the potential customers that they can handle.
2. All processes should have a defined customer whose needs and expectations are understood and are being met.

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