The following article is excerpted from a lecture by Prem Chopra at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga in September 2006. The text of the entire lecture can be found in Masters of the Game: Reaching Beyond the Nexus to Success and Happiness.
Create Value with Quality, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
You can spend a lot of money for a fancy Cadillac. It is a beautiful car, but if it does not provide value to the customer, the business will ultimately collapse. Value is measured in terms of features, functionality, reliability, longevity, ease of maintenance, and ease of repair. You must continue to improve and innovate to enhance these attributes in the products and services you offer. These are essential aspects of quality control or quality improvement. I do not like the word control. Control is a very static word. It implies unidirectional and unilateral standard-setting and direction. Continuous measurement and improvement of quality is the key to maximizing value. You must measure and improve. You cannot improve something that you cannot measure.
So, what is the bottom-line for continuous quality improvement? The answer lies in the history of the American electronics and software industries — Innovate and improve quality. Do what has not been done before—that is the meaning of innovation. Give people freedom to think and work on their ideas. Give more value to the customer. That is the philosophy of the successful entrepreneur. Purposeful entrepreneurship can be applied to any endeavor, including academics–you can be a purposeful and entrepreneurial teacher. What made the United States so technologically advanced was the entrepreneurial spirit. If you want to discover your propensity to be an entrepreneur, or to know your giver-taker balance, play the BrookMaster game at brookoflife.com.