Learning objective

Can quality management and innovation support each other or are they opponents? Can quality management tools be applied to innovation?
It is a general preconception that the implementation of quality management systems reduces the potential for innovation at companies as the implementation of predetermined standards and rules, the removal of unwanted variations, the application of best practices (of other companies) are processes that do not have a quite triggering impact on creativity. What could be the role of quality management in innovation then? The goal of this module is to show how quality and innovation can co-exist. After reading this component you will be aware of the importance of quality and will be able to apply quality management tools to support innovation in your company. This module is most useful for the management of small and medium sized companies with no quality management system at all, or with a system not seem to support the everyday operation of the company.
It will take about 30 minutes to go through this module. The application of tools and doing the exercises will require additional time.


Exploring new, perhaps radical ideas, experimenting, and deviating from tested procedures are all preconditions for creativity and innovation. Quality management at first glance includes the assurance of prescribed procedures, the elimination of potential errors and risks – which means that the two phenomena have opposing characteristics, seem to be against one another. However, we will see that there is no successful innovation without keeping an eye on the quality aspects.Successful enterprises combine innovation with the constant improvement of procedures focusing on quality. The creative idea is not enough; you need to provide a quality product or service at the end of the innovation process.

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