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Invited Session: Statistical Thinking for Business Improvement

Invited Session: Statistical Thinking for Business Improvement

Organizer: Lynne B. Hare, NIST

Statistical Thinking for Business Improvement

Lynne B. Hare
Statistical Engineering Div., NIST

Roger W. Hoerl
Management Science & Statistics, General Electric Research & Development

Ronald D. Snee
Joiner Associates

Several authors have recently noted that American businesses are generally not reaping the tremendous potential of broad application of statistical thinking. Some of the barriers mentioned include: lack of clear understanding of what statistical thinking is and how it differs from statistical techniques; lack of understanding of how it can be applied broadly, especially in situations where little or no data exist; and inability to effectively develop organizational capability to apply it. This session will address these three issues, and in doing so, demonstrate how to utilize "experiential learning" techniques which make training much more effective.

We begin by defining statistical thinking, contrasting it with statistical tools, and showing how both are necessary. Next we show how statistical thinking appears in an organization and how it can be applied. To do this, we will use an audience participation exercise to demonstrate one of the most important aspects of effective training, called "experiential learning," i.e., learning by doing.

The session will be summarized by reiterating the most important points discussed in the session, and by offering advice on how organizations can get started.

[Lynne B. Hare, Statistical Engineering Div., NIST, Gaithersburg, MD 20899 USA; ]

Date created: 6/5/2001
Last updated: 6/21/2001
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