Born in 1900 in the State of Iowa, Deming was to embody the description – a prophet unheeded in his own land.
Deming kept an active working schedule until his death in 1993. He was the inspiration behind the revival of Japan’s manufacturing industry in the early 1950s.
It was not until 1980 that he received wide recognition in his home country when NBC TV ran a feature based on his work in Japan entitled “If Japan can…. why can’t we?”
The Japanese revival has become legendary and his contribution was, in its early years, based on his teaching of statistical techniques developed as a US Government Statistician and refined in his pre-war association with Walter Shewhart.
But Deming’s unique ability was to see beyond the limits of statistical method and this enabled him to describe patterns of wider significance in the ways organisations managed their affairs, particularly with regard to the roles of individuals and the ways in which they are constrained by the systems within which they work.