System Cannot Understand Itself LO5973
Mon, 4 Mar 1996 15:02:03 -0500

W. Edwards Deming often said, "A system cannot know itself." He sometimes
followed this up with a quote he attributed to Ed Baker, "You can know all
about ice and not understand water."

Did Deming mean
1) You have to bring in an outside consultant to really understand your
organization (system)?; or
2) In a variation on Einstein's quote, you cannot transform a system using
the same level of thinking with which you first created that system?

Or perhaps he meant something altogether different. Personally, I find it
a fascinating quote to mull over. I'd like to hear from the collective
insights in this group. I certainly don't pretend to understand all the
implications / applications of this quote.

Ron Davison ( San Diego
"We are being ruined by best efforts."  -- Deming's 2nd Theorem.

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