Investigates how organisations can progress from total quality (TQ) to business innovation and represents the first part of an EU sponsored research programme in total quality and innovation. First, definitions and underlying assumptions are analysed which enables a definition of TQ and innovation to be derived that can accommodate a natural organisational progression in terms of implementation. Second, TQ and Innovation are compared and contrasted by analysing models in each of the respective fields. The main findings were that, in general, innovation models were based more on organisational learning and appreciation of human capital than TQ models, which were based more on mechanistic process based continuous improvement. Finally, the results of a research study into innovation and total quality are presented and discussed. The study found that organisations which have a history of continuous improvement are more likely to go on and build a successful innovative culture.