“Smart” Windsor Lagging Behind

By Robert Tuomi

(WINDSOR, ON) – Michigan could soon be the starting point for a quality phenomenon which could cause the DWOM 4, the Mayor of Detroit and its three county executives, to be amused, if nothing else, in Windsor’s effort to be named as an intelligent community.  The DWOM4, as usual, are taking a different tack – moving past intelligence to quality and will most likely triumph over the WE8, the mayors of Windsor and Essex County excluding Pelee Island.

Instead of having an Intelligent Community judge spend a few days in town, the DWOM4 will have a quality guru working diligently in their backyards to make all of Michigan a quality place. Michigan is readying itself to brace for the “Internationally recognized leader in quality, strategic business consultant to Global Fortune 100 companies, and prominent bestselling author, Subir Chowdhury.”

Mr. Chowdhury is said to believe that individuals who live with a commitment to quality can transform all aspects of life. To show how it is done, Mr. Chowdhury, also known to some as either “the leading Quality Expert” or “The Quality Prophet,” is intent on launching a somewhat large-scale campaign for his LEO Movement that will create a “global phenomenon in quality awareness” beginning with the State of Michigan.

The plan is for Mr. Chowdhury to inspire a million people in Michigan to such an extent they will pledge to practice their individual quality through what he calls “proven steps of LEO” which are detailed on the website LEOmovement.org.

Follow the LEO process – Listen, Enrich and Optimize – Michigan residents could expect to have the “skills to improve their lives and contribute to a statewide transformation of quality improvements. The LEO Movement is an initiative stemming from Chowdhury’s non-profit organization, the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation.”

Mr. Chowdhury tells us that daily LEO practice requires a bit of discipline and three simple steps:

  • Listen hard to others and to yourself to seek understanding.
  • Enrich the lives around you by giving a little more of yourself every day.
  • Optimize everything you do by setting your mind to excellence and refusing to settle.

“I have implemented quality processes for years, finding that even the greatest process will not achieve the highest quality if people aren’t practicing quality as individuals. The simple practice of LEO highly impacts organizations because it is about the people – all the people, all the time.  This transformational practice impacts attitudes, perceptions, personal and work relationships, so individuals can improve their lives, their families, workplace, and communities,” says the quality master.

There is a critical word that Mr. Chowdhury uses that could be instructional to Windsor. It is a word well-used by W. Edwards Deming, the man with much to do with Japan’s focus on quality that produced a post-world war global manufacturing powerhouse.

That word is transformation and is, apparently, from what we are hearing, a good word to describe the efforts of some of the seven communities selected as intelligent ones to, well, transform their communities. Something Windsor has yet to
do.

Back in January 19, 2011, The Intelligent Community Forum named the City of Riverside, along with Windsor, to its 2011 Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year.

The reasons Riverside was selected are rather startling when compared to Windsor. It was, says a news release from local company Surado, “recognized for building a tech-based economy that seizes the opportunities of the broadband revolution. A nonprofit, SmartRiverside, focuses on technology initiatives, and a CEO Forum of local tech companies has produced a plan for tech-based transformation. The community has partnered with its universities to develop tech parks, incubators, business accelerators and mentoring programs.”

Windsor has one university and no such tech parks, incubators nor business accelerators.

In Riverside, telecommunication carriers have deployed fiber and wireless networks reaching 80% of the city.

There is also the impact of a $1.6 billion revitalization program begun in 2006 that “is improving traffic flow, replacing aging water, sewer and electric infrastructure, and improving police, fire, parks and libraries.”

Windsor has no such program and the potholes in its road infrastructure to prove it and, apparently a library that is way too large and needs to be reduced, for the betterment of the community, along with the closing of community centres, for the betterment of the community. Go figure?

Riverside also benefits from CEOs who promote its benefits to help grow high tech in the region.

“As the founder and past chair of the Riverside Technology CEO Forum as well as the Executive Vice President of SmartRiverside, Mr. Doshi continues to invest and promote Riverside as a destination for high-tech businesses. One effort currently underway by Mr. Doshi (Surado’s CEO) is to create an environment that is conducive for tech companies to innovate and grow in the University Research Park. To further this effort, Mr. Doshi is promoting the building of a High-Tech and Bio Tech Incubator in the Surado Corporate Center with the collaboration of the City of Riverside, County of Riverside and University of California, Riverside. Currently, Surado Corporate Center houses 5 high tech companies including Surado.

Nothwithstandin both Riverside and Windsor are up against the frontrunner in this Intelligent Community competition, a community with many things not found in Windsor.

That contender is Chattanooga, Tennessee. Business & Heritage Clarksville (January 22, 2011) reports that after the US government cited Chattanooga as the city with America’s dirtiest air, back in 1969, it worked to clean up its environment and created a pollution control board that led to $10m in private-sector air-quality investments.

The publication adds, “When heavy manufacturing declined in the 70’s and 80’s, the same spirit of partnership and the support of local foundations led to a decade of transformative downtown revitalization projects.”

Windsor’s downtown transformative project so far has consisted of flattening an urban village in the west sector of downtown to create parking lots. Of course, there was the effort that finally resulted in the filling in of a hole in the ground near Riverside Drive that was about the size of a large swimming pool.

Chattanooga, did differently. Again from Business & Heritage Clarksville, “To spark economic revival the business, academic and governmental leadership pressed forward on multiple fronts, such as higher standards for secondary education with integrated career training. The city-owned electric utility built a fiber network that will collect billions of data points and provide real-time management that will significantly boost the grid’s reliability and performance.”

It will be interesting to see whether the DWOM4, with a focus on quality, can triumph over the W8 and its focus on being named as intelligent. Will actions speak louder than words?

For more of the Rest of the News, listen to CJAM 99.1 Monday evenings at 8:30

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