Newsletter – July, 2015

On My Mind
Who is the best chess player in the world? The answer to that question is not so easy given the outcome of the recent Norway Chess 2015 tournament—the first of three events of the newly-created Grand Chess Tour 2015. Chess has long been considered one of the best games to develop strategic thinking skills. Magnus Carlsen of Norway is the current world champion and he was ranked #1 prior to the tournament, but he couldn’t recover from a time blunder in his first game of the tournament against Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and he ended up in 7th place. Topalov went on to win the tournament. Did Carlsen’s time blunder affect his performance in his next eight games? Ten grand masters competed and they played each other once which means there were forty-five games. Twenty-five of the forty-five games resulted in a draw; fifteen of the forty-five games were won by the player with the white pieces; and five of the forty-five games (11.1%)—including the Carlsen vs. Topalov match—were won by the player with the black pieces. Topalov had four of the five “black wins” which is an amazing tournament performance since “black wins” are historically the least likely outcome. Carlsen will have a chance to redeem himself when he plays in the 2015 Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis in August. Game on!

Interesting Stories
One second can make all the difference in the world to some people. According to the Financial Times, an extra second was recently added “. . . to the world’s computer clocks to keep them in sync with the time the earth takes to orbit the sun.” This was the first time they made the adjustment during a trading day. The fear was that those who prepared for the event would have a momentary competitive advantage. We’ll have to wait and see what happened. On another note, congratulations are due co-pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard for breaking the solar plane flight record with a journey of 118 hours. This was seen as a giant victory for renewable energy technology.

Company News
I will be presenting on “Quality, Analytics, & the Big Data Revolution” at the Global Quality Futures Workshop in August in Winnipeg, Canada. The accompanying paper bearing the same title will be available after the workshop. There are three major Strategic Improvement Systems events to be held this fall. The ten day public Continuous Improvement Black Belt course schedule is set: September 15-17, October 19-21, November 17-19, and December 21. The brochure is available on this website in the “Public Seminars” section. The nine day public Continuous Improvement Master Black Belt course schedule is set: September 21-23; October 28-30; December 1-2; and December 17. The brochure will be availabe on this website in the “Public Seminars” section by July 13. Finally, the Seventh Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held October 7 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. There will be presentations under two major themes: Innovation and Organizational Sustainability (in the environmental) sense. The brochure will be availabe on this website in the “Annual Conference” section by July 13.

Intriguing Reads
I recently re-studied two classic papers by Dr. W. Edwards Deming as part of my analytics research: On Probability As a Basis For Action published by The American Statistician and On the Distinction Between Enumerative and Analytic Surveys published by the Journal of the American Statistical Association. Executives should study these two papers if they intend to use predictive analytical models. The use of those models involves some risk.