Geoffrey Vining
Professor Geoffrey Vining, Honorary doctorate 2017 appointed by the Technical Faculty of Luleå University of Technology. Photo: Ted Karlsson. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

The future is quality

Published: 10 November 2017

To create a better everyday life through quality. That is how the 2017 honorary doctor Geoffrey Vining summarizes the purpose of his work, which includes statistics to plan experiments that will then improve products and processes.

– Society's most fundamental problems such as clean water, healthcare and famine are major, unstructured and complex problems. If we think of the future in terms of quality, we can begin to solve these complex issues and come up with good solutions. One of the challenges for universities is to prepare the students so they understand the need for these solutions and we need to provide the right tools and education to implement them.

Interdisciplinary teams

Something Geoffrey Vining often returns to in his presentation is the importance of researchers working over subject boundaries. The future requires interdisciplinary teams and that we learn to speak each other's languages. This applies, for example, when statisticians are to communicate with business executives.

– Business executives do not care what the technical tools are, they are interested in knowing how much profit they can make. What return can they have on the quality work they are investing in?

Do not be afraid to fail

Quality can be defined by something that conforms to specifications. But the specifications must also meet customer needs. Again, there are large, unstructured and complex issues that must be solved.

– The key to innovation is to not be afraid to fail. In other words, to carry out experiments. A good experiment should contain errors, not least bedcause they tell you what to avoid. That's what I'm doing, planning experiments to improve productivity and reliability for products and services.

Geoffrey Vining finished his presentation by arguing why Luleå University of Technology can have an influential role in quality technology in the future. The fact that the university has a good mix of competences combined with the Swedish culture to want to help are examples of factors that provide good conditions for the future.