Saturday, December 17, 2011

Blog Post 15: Entrepreneurship

Choose a focus of either your final project topic or your career plan to develop an entrepreneurial assessment of yourself. This should be about a "1-page" activity. Some of these questions may help guide your thoughts: Do you want to be a "businessperson or an entrepreneur?" What traits and/or strengths do you see in your PDP that aligns with your thought? What weaknesses or opportunities for improvement do you notice that you would like to address to become a "businessperson or an entrepreneur?" Is entrepreneurship just about starting a business? Or is it much deeper and holistic than that? As the world quickly changes, which type of folks do you feel will be more on their "toes" and less on their "heels." Who do you think will achieve and live the happinesses that they seek in life?

While the common image of an entrepreneur is someone who is starting their own business, an entrepreneur can have a different meaning. An entrepreneur is someone who applies unique ideas and perspectives to problem solving. An entrepreneur is a leader – someone who takes risks and explores new territory. A businessperson is the opposite. They take minimal risks and focus on things like maintaining profit and making money. Profit is a consequence for the entrepreneur, not an overlying motivating factor. 
                I think I would prefer to see my career follow the path of the entrepreneur. I would prefer to have plentiful spare time for myself and my family while still being able to have a successful career.  One of the major aspects of my PDP was that my personal life will always be more important to me than my career. Clearly, having a career that maximizes my quality of life is ideal.

Being able to apply creativity is also something that I value highly, and the businessperson has less opportunity to do that – their careers fit the mold while an entrepreneur creates the mold. My PDP also outlines my drive to challenge myself, and the entrepreneur is subjected to many more challenges and difficulties than the businessperson. The drawback to this is that taking risks can often backfire. Not taking the path of least resistance can often be difficult, but in the end I think it is the better path to take. 

                I realize that becoming an entrepreneur can be a difficult transition.  An entrepreneur is likely to face more adversity than a businessperson in developing their career, since taking risks assumes the possibility of failure. It is often a lot easier to take a more “guaranteed” position than one that runs a higher risk of failure. Personally, I see this as the biggest obstacle for myself in becoming an entrepreneur. It is easy to say that I want to take risks right now, but when the time comes to actually make those decisions its quite possible that a businessperson-type career has benefits that are hard to ignore - financial benefits, for example. The businessperson often is motivated by money, and sometimes a young college graduate is in desperate need of a solid career that pays well. An entrepreneurial career has much less promise of a high income than a bussinessperson career. However, I still think that I would much rather risk failing and have a higher quality of life than to be a businessperson who is constantly plagued with work.

Blog Post 14: Implementing a Lean Process

Based on our discussion in class today, implement and document a quality improvement process to the project/situation in which you performed a 5S process. This implementation must be based on the muda listed on the lean manufacturing wiki site. (note: there are several additional more modern types that you could utilize if need be)For the documentation, list/describe the waste you have identified and explain the process change you have implemented. Either collect some data that demonstrate your improvement, or realistically estimate the effect that your improvement will have on your process.

I implemented a lean process by eliminating all the waste that was cluttering my counter top. Almost everything I had on the counter was unnecessary and was only taking up space.  By eliminating all the unnecessary waste, the kitchen is clean and I have counter top space available for something useful.

Blog Post 13: Criteria for Evaluation

Here are the Criteria discussed in class. Use these to shape the final criteria that will be used by your group. Post the final criteria and the process you will use to evaluate and rank the members of your team related to the final project
                                             -Tasks Accomplished

Blog Post 12: 5S process

Post a record of a 5S process that you have completed. Post a before and after picture. Also, post a short narrative of how you addressed each of the "8s's" of the 5S process. 

Sorting - The counter top/sink area was cluttered with things that had no purpose (mostly empty bottles and cans). I sorted out everything that was unnecessary on the counter.

Straightening - The things that I wanted to keep out were kind of randomly strewn across the counter. I straightened everything by putting things in their respective places

Systematic cleaning - The counter and sink were dirty, and their were a few dirty cups and dishes in the sink. I cleaned everything and put the dishes away.

Standardizing - I organized the dishes in a way that maximized their order and accessibility.

 Sustaining - I plan on maintaining the cleanliness of the counter

Safety - The amount of empty glass bottles lying around was potentially dangerous, so cleaning the counter increases the safety in the kitchen.

 Security - Since everything is organized, my belongings are more secure since it is easier to tell when something is missing or misplaced.

 Satisfaction - having a clean kitchen is very satisfactory to me and my roommate. 

Blog post 11: Quality Management

Identify and describe a quality management process that is utilized in your field of interest. Typically this process is in response or guided by a professional organization in that field. Identify that organization.

Quality management is something that is of paramount importance in chemistry labs. A lapse in quality control can ruin an entire project. Dow Chemical, for example, aims for seven sigma - 20 defects per billion.  Dow adopted the six sigma process in 1998 and is now considered to be one of the leading practitioners of the quality management process. Dow implements the process at all functions in their company - not just production. Things like customer service, energy consumption and health and safety have all benefited from the implementation of six sigma.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blog Post 10: Specific Ethical Question

Ask/address an ethical question in your field of interest.

        Field of Interest: Organic Chemistry/Biochemistry
        Ethical Issue: Is it ethical to develop drugs that carry harmful side effects?

Develop/address arguments for each side of the issue, then defend your position on the issue.
This activity must include references

         Many drugs that are currently available that harbor significant side effects. For example, a drug that has recently been receiving quite a bit of attention recently is Chantix (varenicline). Its purpose is to assist in the cessation of smoking by stimulating nicotine receptors in the brain. The FDA approved the use of Chantix in 2006 after a 6-month review process (4 months shorter than the standard 10-month review process).While it has proved to be at least somewhat effective to a large number of people, it has had a great amount of publicity dealing with it's staggering level of adverse psychological side effects. According to the Institute for Safe Medicine Practices, in the second quarter of 2008 alone Chantix was linked to nearly 1000 cases of serious injury or death, mostly stemming from suicidal behavior, a major side effect associated with Chantix.

        So who's to blame? The chemist for creating it? The pharm company for selling it? The FDA for approving it? The doctor for describing it? The patient for taking it? One could argue that those who produce the drug are ultimately the ones responsible for the damage caused by the drug. This is why pharmaceutical companies have payed billions of dollars in class action settlements. Many people have faith that the drugs they are prescribed by their doctors are safe, or that they will at least be informed of potential side effects.  However, it is often the case that doctors are somewhat misinformed about the drugs they are prescribing - maybe they are unaware of some potential side effects. It is much easier to blame the big corporation on the other side of the country than it is to blame someone you personally trust with your health.

        The fact is, when something goes wrong, someone has to get blamed. Sometimes the doctor gets blamed, but more often then not it's the pharmaceutical company. While certain business aspects of the pharmaceutical industry can often be ethically questionable, I believe that there is nothing ethically wrong with producing a dangerous drug from the standpoint of a chemist. When a chemist develops a novel drug, they clearly cannot instantly know whether the drug is completely safe or not, or whether or not it will carry potential side effects - that matter is addressed later on in the production process. It is much different than say, a nuclear chemist who develops a novel explosive that is used in nuclear weapons - they know that what they are producing is catastrophically dangerous. However, developing a drug is a bit different as the potential hazards (and benefits) are not manifest when the drug is first created. So, then, who is to blame? Tough question, as I think some of the blame can be passed around, but I certainly would not blame the chemist.

FDA Speeds Smoking Cessation Drug Review (Journal of the American Medical Association)
ISMP Quarter Watch 2008

Each student will then review this beginning on Nov 2.

Evaluation Criteria:

1-4 are evaluated by assigning a strong(S), medium(M) or weak(W)

1. Described field of interest and described question posed.
2. Both sides of argument were presented.
3. Appropriate references were included
4. Defended position is described clearly

5. provide one useful comment

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blog Post 9: Project Title, Issue, and Action Plan

Solar Power

Our group is presenting on solar power - specifically why it is not being utilized to greater extents. We also plan to develop a "take-home-message" regarding the future of solar power and whether or not it is a viable option as a sustainable energy source.