The Complete Package

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Estelle Clark, CQI Head of Profession explains why you should be attending the quality conference of the season.

If you haven’t bought a ticket yet for this year’s conference, why not? I’d like to share with you my views on the value of this fantastic event. If you’ve already grabbed your seat, you’re already winning and I’m going to whet your appetite by explaining some of the thinking behind our mouth-watering programme.

This is the quality event of the season, the only remaining conference for the profession in the calendar, so if you’re not in the room on April 13 you won’t know what’s going on. The time for the profession to look inwards and reflect has passed. We know that the modern quality professional is now a big-picture thinker who demands more than simply the tools of the trade. This conference is about thought leadership, led by business and business relevant. Never before have we had such a mile-wide agenda, never before so many delegates and speakers from across the entire organisation. Wherever you sit on the spectrum, you can be sure there will be others like you in the room. With 250 quality professionals, this is the biggest peer-to-peer quality networking event of 2016 and the benefits should not be underestimated – it’s worth the entrance fee alone.

For the first time, we have a programme that covers the whole CQI Competency Framework – from Governance and Assurance, to Improvement, Leadership and Context. If you’re primarily working in one of those spaces and feel slightly nervous about what the framework means for you, the conference is a fantastic opportunity to gain an appreciation of the entirety and to familiarise yourself with our holistic model for quality. If that does sound like you, I urge you to come and try some of those other pieces.

The programme does not include people telling you how they built their Lean Six Sigma programme (if you’re looking for that, the CQI has plenty of training services to support you). Instead we have external speakers bringing you the context and the challenges for business, today and in the future. We have the most interesting case studies from our corporates – and not just those in the factory but from retail and service too. From Travis Perkins to International SOS, these are the stories you haven’t heard. There are also tailored breakout sessions where those with more specialist interests can get deep and dirty. You’ll be hearing from young people who have a vision for the future of quality. It’s going to be very tricky to decide which breakout sessions to opt for.

Risk is a big issue and we’ve got it covered. The CQI has put risk more squarely into its framework than previously and of course it’s front and centre of ISO 9001:2015. Quality professionals need to lead on risk for their organisations. It’s not only about the identification of risk – if an organisation doesn’t have quality professionals it’s hard to put in place robust ways of dealing with it. Our opening keynote, Gerald Ashley, is a leading expert on risk and will draw on different behaviours towards risk and lessons learned, in order to challenge accepted thinking. And our closing keynote, Tim Harford, aka ‘the Undercover Economist’, will deliver fresh thinking on the business landscape, setting the context in which we all operate.

More businesses than ever are making quality a strategic imperative and those with a head start are going to be at the conference. The opportunities are waiting and this is the time for everyone to stand up and be counted. If you’re falling behind, don’t think we’re going to wait for you.

See you there.

Estelle Clark, CQI Head of Profession

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