The Art of Discovery

Posted on April 18, 2013  Comments (3)

Quality and The Art of Discovery by Professor George Box (1990):


Quotes by George Box in the video:

“I think of statistical methods as the use of science to make sense of numbers”

“The scientific method is how we increase the rate at which we find things out.”

“I think the quality revolution is nothing more, or less, than the dramatic expansion of the of scientific problem solving using informed observation and directed experimentation to find out more about the process, the product and the customer.”

“It really amounts to this, if you know more about what it is you are doing then you can do it better and you can do it cheaper.”

“We are talking about involving the whole workforce in the use of the scientific method and retraining our engineers and scientists in a more efficient way to run experiments.”

“Tapping into resources:

  1. Every operating system generates information that can be used to improve it.
  2. Everyone has creativity.
  3. Designed experiments can greatly increase the efficiency of experimentation.

An informed observer and directed experimentation are necessary for the scientific method to be applied. He notes that the control chart is used to notify an informed observer to explain what is special about the conditions when a result falls outside the control limits. When the chart indicates a special cause is likely present (something not part of the normal system) an informed observer should think about what special cause could lead to the result that was measured. And it is important this is done quickly as the ability of the knowledgable observer to determine what is special is much greater the closer in time to the result was created.

The video was posted by Wiley (with the permission of George’s family), Wiley is the publisher of George’s recent autobiography, An Accidental Statistician: The Life and Memories of George E. P. Box, and many of his other books.

Related: Two resources, largely untapped in American organizations, are potential information and employee creativityStatistics for Experimenters (book on directed experimentation by Box, Hunter and Hunter)Highlights from 2009 George Box SpeechIntroductory Videos on Using Design of Experiments to Improve Results (with Stu Hunter)

3 Responses to “The Art of Discovery”

  1. May 2013 Leadership Development Carnival - Let's Grow Leaders
    May 6th, 2013 @ 5:03 am

    [...] Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog writes about The Art of Discovery.  It’s a video with George Box explaining the importance of directed experimentation with [...]

  2. Improving Problem Solving « The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog
    June 27th, 2013 @ 8:22 am

    “The same process that delivered the defects delivered outcome or results that were not defective. Study of the defects alone presumes that the defects are necessarily produced by a special cause…”

  3. Design of Experiments: The Process of Discovery is Iterative » Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog
    July 30th, 2013 @ 4:52 am

    [...] by George Box, see previous posts: Introduction to Fractional Factorial Designed Experiments and The Art of Discovery. This video looks at learning about experimental design using paper helicopters (the paper linked [...]

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