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INK model

INK model

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Quick Overview

The DQI model is a management model that will help you evaluate yourself. It represents different aspects of the maturity level. Analysing these aspects makes it possible to define the improvement potential. The analysis is usually conducted by an audit team guaranteeing independent outcomes as much as possible.

Related models: AIDA Model7S ModelKnowledge TriangleINKSWOT AnalysisBalanced ScorecardFive ForcesBCG Matrix6W's of Corporate GrowthCRM;KondratieffCustomer PyramidProduct Life Cycle


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Related models: AIDA Model7S ModelKnowledge TriangleINKSWOT AnalysisBalanced ScorecardFive ForcesBCG Matrix6W's of Corporate GrowthCRM;KondratieffCustomer PyramidProduct Life Cycle



DQI stands for Dutch Quality Institute (in Dutch: Instituut Nederlandse Kwaliteit or INK). The institute was founded back in 1991 by the Ministry of Economic Affairs seeking to assist the Dutch business community.

The model has been changed several times. It was changed substantially for the last time in 2008. Based on research and experiences of those using the model, the following changes were introduced:

-      People are the organisation. Man, culture and change aspects have been granted a more prominent position.

-      The model was mainly tuned inwards. ‘Looking outside’ has been made explicit. This helps dedicate more attention to changes within the organisation’s context.


The model

The DQI model is a management model that will help you evaluate yourself. It represents different aspects of the maturity level. Analysing these aspects makes it possible to define the improvement potential. The analysis is usually conducted by an audit team guaranteeing independent outcomes as much as possible.

In order to become an excellent organisation the model describes five fundamental features that must be met:

-      Courageous leadership

-      Result-orientation

-      Continuous improvements

-      Transparency

-      Collaboration


The DQI model comes with ten fields of attention five of which relate to the organisation, four are tuned towards results while the last field of attention involves improvements and innovations:

-      Organisation:

-      Leadership

-      Strategy and Policy

-      Staff Management

-      Resource Management

-      Process Management

-      Results:

-      Clients and Partners

-      Staff

-      Society

-      Managers and Financiers

      Improve and innovate.


The DQI model describes five stages that must be followed in order to become an excellent organisation:

-      Activity-orientation

-      Process-orientation

-      System-orientation

-      Chain-orientation

-      Transformation-orientation.


Five fundamental features


Courageous leadership

The organisation’s managers define a challenging vision, goals and strategy. They lay down and communicate matters. They live for the vision. Managers listen carefully and recognise possibilities and opportunities instead of problems. They have a ‘strong back’ and they are very perseverant.



The organisation’s managers steer heavily towards effective and efficient activities. Results are measured against the wishes of the parties interested and managers’ expectations are high.


Continuous improvements

The numbers tell the tale. Results are evaluated based on goals and the defined KPIs. The outcomes are used to introduce structural improvements. Knowledge management is brought into existence and sharing knowledge is part of the culture.



Each and everyone know what they are lined up for. They are familiar with their tasks, responsibilities and authorities. Processes have been mapped including their mutual relationships and desired achievements. Effectiveness and efficiency figures are known and communicated widely. 



A professional attitude exists and lines are kept short. People do not settle for their internal knowledge. Finding strategic partners is part of the operational management.


Ten fields of attention


Organisation: leadership

This is about how the organisation’s leaders inspire other people to continue to improve matters. Examples include managing directors, managers, team managers, etc. Has a future vision been set and communicated? Is the structure capable of realising this vision? To what extent is exemplary behaviour shown to pursue the vision?


Organisation: strategy and policy

What are the organisation’s mission, vision, objectives and strategy? To what extent have these been laid down and shared? Has an ambition been defined to become an excellent organisation? How should objectives be realised and do parties seek to improve matters continuously? What information and knowledge are required and available to interpret matters?


Organisation: staff management

To what extent are people capable of using knowledge available to the fullest? Does sufficient knowledge exist? Is there a strong staff policy whereby attention is paid to the people and their wellbeing?


Organisation: resource management

To what extent are people capable of using resources to the fullest? You may think of financial resources, information systems, knowledge systems, workplaces, materials, buildings and fleets.


Organisation: process management

This is about managing and continuously improving internal and external processes. Have processes been mapped? Are the levels of efficiency and effectiveness measured? Is there a quality system? This concerns the primary, secondary and administrative processes.


Results: clients and partners

How do clients feel about your product or service? Is customer rating measured, laid down, shared and used at all in order to steer matters and realise improvements? The same goes for suppliers. Do they work together with the organisation’s people in a pleasant way? What makes a party decide to supply or buy at a particular moment or why does it decide not to? How can you ensure customer satisfaction?


Results: staff

Staff are the mine’s gold. Unhappy staff will serve clients poorly. Are staff satisfied? Is there a remuneration or encouragement system? What measures are taken to keep staff satisfied?


Results: society

This is about the winged “Corporate Social Responsibility”. How does the organisation contribute to society? How is this experienced by society? Which concrete and demonstrable examples can be given (e.g. ‘green’ driving, childcare, Fair Trade coffee, employment, etc.)


Results: managers and financiers

To what extent is the organisation capable of reaching its financial and operational objectives? Do we know how the organisation is doing compared to competitors? Are investors satisfied with the results? How does the organisation run measured against financial standards such as product, turnover and margin? How successful is the organisation based on operational standards such as Time to Market, Waste and Quality?


Improve and innovate

This is the feedback loop in the model.


Five stages

The DQI model distinguishes five stages that must be followed in order to become an excellent organisation. Each next stage involves more complexity. To reach the next level the organisation must meet the five basic features more and more.

Reaching the highest stage is not the goal in itself. Small and less complicated organisations can perfectly exist in a lower stage. In fact, a higher stage will for instance involve unnecessary details involving disadvantages rather than benefits.



This stage is tuned towards activities performed by staff. People have sufficient knowledge to perform tasks. External contact is established by the administrators. Problems are tackled and solved together and without delay.



Focus is strong on how products and services come about, who and what is required for that. Also, clients’ wishes are taken into account to improve processes. Measurements are carried out at different stages of the primary process. These measurements are used to steer, intervene and improve matters. The employee knows what is expected of him, what his task is including related responsibilities and authorities.



Process improvement is targeted at all levels. This involves the primary, secondary and administrative process. Steering and intervening activities take place for instance by applying the Deming Circle (Plan-Do-Check-Act). Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have been set up and made explicit throughout the organisation and for all processes. Based on these measuring details steering and intervention is arranged organisation-wide.



Wherever possible, the organisation’s policy is tuned towards the wishes of the partners and parties interested. Examples include network organisations, governments and interest groups. Throughout the chain the best party to perform the activity is considered. The organisation is tuned towards innovation.



The organisation seeks to be one of the best organisations. Non-stop improvements have become cultural heritage. The organisation has the distant future in mind adapting appropriately to environmental changes.


How to use it


This model can be used in many ways. If your organisation has an audit department we recommend having this department conduct analysis. Auditors are perfectly familiar with this model. If knowledge is not available or in case an audit department does not exist one may call in external expertise. Many companies specialise in analyses based on the DQI model.


The DQI model has three fields of application:

-      Structuring framework: the DQI model provides the possibility to discuss the organisation using the same terms and terminology. The structure gives a good basis for conducting analyses. In fact you may even conduct a SWOT analysis for each aspect. This creates many more options.

-      Diagnosis model: one step ahead is to use the DQI model to make a diagnosis. You study each aspect and determine how mature each aspect is by putting them against the measuring rod of the five fundamental features. Now you can define a growth model for each aspect.

-      Steering model: the most far-reaching form is to use the DQI model as a manual. All processes are designed according to the five fundamental features. For each aspect a long-term vision is defined which in context determines the organisation’s vision. Objectives for the result areas are laid down and made explicit. Achievements are monitored continuously to make the right intervention possible.

Obviously common sense is most welcome. A description will help you ask yourself a few good questions and together with the members of the organisation name weaknesses and take measures. Below is a list of several models which for the different aspects will help you conduct analyses or form an opinion.


Have a look at:

-      Manager versus Leader: study the differences and decide on whether real leaders exist at the organisation.

-      Knowledge Value Chain: Use Mathieu Weggeman’s knowledge value chain. Define Mission, Vision, Objectives and Strategy. Write them down, make them transparent and communicate them widely. Analyse the existing and required knowledge and take measures to create, share and apply the missing knowledge.

-      Knowledge Conversion: use the knowledge conversion model of Nonaka and Takeuchi. This model describes how knowledge can be transferred and offered to the organisation.

-      Ask the knowledge workers what support they require to perform tasks.

-      Use the Balanced Score Card.

-      Determine the Steering Parameters on the basis of which measurements are made.

-      Allow the knowledge workers to lay down their knowledge on a regular basis with regard to the changed process and procedure implementation.

-      Pillars of Commitment: use the four pillars of commitment to hold on to and challenge your people.

-      Hygiene factors (Herzberg): use Herzberg’s model to analyse whether sufficient substance is given to the hygiene and motivation factors. Giving substance to the former will ensure staff satisfaction. Giving substance to the latter will ensure motivated staff.

-      Conduct a benchmark.

-      Make objectives SMART to make sure you can measure them properly afterwards.

-      Use the Kaizen and LEAN sessions by improving matters with each and everyone taking small steps at a time.

-      Use PSTB (Problem Solving Team Building) to introduce improvements that are accepted by the group.

-      Use the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) circle at all levels.


We wish you good qualitative luck!


Related models: 

-   AIDA Model

-   7S Model

-   Knowledge Triangle

-   INK

-   SWOT Analysis

-   Balanced Scorecard

-   Five Forces

-   BCG Matrix

-   6W's of Corporate Growth

-   CRM;Kondratieff

-   Customer Pyramid

-   Product Life Cycle




-       Wikipedia



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