Governmental and non-governmental (NGO) organizations share many of the
same challenges as for-profit corporations. Instead of the profit
incentive, their goal is to deliver the best to their customers
(clients) that their budget will allow. Innovation, of course, is often
a key opportunity to get more bang for the buck. With a few changes, QFD
can bring the power of Voice of the Customer (VOC) to helping
these projects develop faster, better, and cheaper solutions.
One of the presentations at the 2007 International Symposium
on QFD introduced the integration of QFD and Context
Sensitive Solutions (CSS) in the transportation industry. For many
years, the selection of transportation routes, design of roadway
features, etc. were based mostly on engineering considerations.
According to the Maryland State Highway Administration, "Context
sensitive design asks questions first about the need and purpose of the
transportation project, and then equally addresses safety, mobility, and
the preservation of scenic, aesthetic, historic, environmental, and
other community values. Context sensitive design involves a
collaborative, interdisciplinary approach in which citizens are part of
the design team."
Research by Theodore Hopwood II, P.E., Kentucky Transportation Center,
University of Kentucky and Glenn H. Mazur, QFD Red Belt®, QFD Institute,
adapted the VOC tools to address the many conflicts any civil
project faces when trying to satisfy a broad range of economic,
political, social, and functional needs of their constituents. Such
challenge is not unique to transportation routing; it occurs regularly
with military base, park, community, and other types of construction. At
the conference, the authors presented examples from real road
It is common for a civil project team to first gather innovative
solution concepts from groups familiar with the project, such as
architects, road commissioners, land management specialists, ecologists,
etc. Each group promotes solutions that are friendly to the position
they represent. The civil project team will then conduct focus groups
and surveys to get feedback from other constituents, such as land
owners, residents, businesses, etc. on these various concepts. Conflict
For example, on one recent project to rebuild a scenic road along a
river, several concepts such as closing the road to vehicular traffic,
narrowing it to a single one-way lane, and other ideas were developed by
city experts and then presented to citizens of the area. Attendees of
the meetings included residents, cyclists, commuters, emergency care
professionals, and others. Immediately, they began to argue that the
merits of each solution would have adverse impacts on different groups.
There seemed to be no single solution that would satisfy everybody.
QFD's VOC tools promptly revealed that not all constituents were equally
impacted by the scenic road and that some should have a stronger voice
in the projects. If the constituents were weighted and then interviewed
accordingly, it would be possible to gather their divergent opinions and
translate them into "needs" that are independent of the solutions.
From there, each constituent group could prioritize their needs
according to their group's weight, and the result would be a set of
needs that reflects the cross-tabulated priorities of the larger
population. QFD tools, then, could be used to convert the needs into
road characteristics, which could then be used to generate additional
concepts, and eventually to select the best ones.
The QFD tools to translate VOC into prioritized needs and step-by-step
methods are taught in the QFD Green Belt®
If public, NGO, or civil projects challenge you, if you must conform to
CSS guidelines, then these courses will give you the tools to break and
resolve many of the conflicts you face.