Federal Funding Ends for Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

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I'm still looking for a published news source for this, but I learned earlier today from Paul Borawski, the CEO of the American Society for Quality, that an omnibus spending bill signed Friday by President Obama  marked the end of U.S. federal funding for the  Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Borawski has followed this closely and given his role and ASQ's role in the Baldrige process, I trust that this is an accurate report.

I interviewed Borawski for an upcoming LeanBlog Podcast and he commented on the impact of the future of the Baldrige Award. I will post quotes here shortly. Borawski said the end of federal funding doesn't mean the end for Baldrige, as funding will hopefully be picked up by the private sector and continued support from the Malcolm Baldrige Foundation.

Quotes from Borawski:

“We've been working for months now to try and stave a movement in Washington that seemed to identify the Baldrige program as an award program unsuitable for federal funding. We've done a lot of work to try to inform Washington about the fact that it's not an award program; it's truly a program that improves competitiveness of our companies, our organizations, our schools, our hospitals… it creates jobs, takes cost out of government… but the answer seems to be ‘well, we gave you a 23-year running head start and legacy, so let the private sector take it forward if it's important.”

Borawski added, “Today, the President signed into law a mini-omnibus that serves to do a lot of things, including to cease the funding of the Baldrige Award, as of today, as of the stroke of his pen. So, the good news is there's Baldrige Foundation, there's a state alliance of programs, there's the interest of the Baldrige Office and ASQ meeting to talk about Baldrige and the period beyond federal funding. I think there's some excitingly good ideas being pursued about ways to more effectively utilize the resources of the system and the Baldrige Foundation has committed to seeing the fiscal year '11 and and the calendar year '12 programs through to completion. It's a time of transition, a time of change, a time of innovation, and a time of new opportunities.”

Borawski also said, “It's a little disappointing for me that it suggests that our government doesn't quite understand the role of quality in the vitality of our economy.”

The complete podcast, with discussion of this and other topics, including World Quality Month, will published after Thanksgiving at www.LeanBlog.org and www.LeanPodcast.org.

More on the Baldrige Award's history from Wikipedia and the NIST/Baldrige website.

Feel free to re-publish or quote, but must cite www.LeanBlog.org.


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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

5 COMMENTS

  1. It would be interesting / scary to see how the private sector defines excellence and chooses winners. Regardless of public or private funding it only works if group is autonomous and foxes are not left to guard the hen house.

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