Innovative solutions are frequently the answer to new or age old problems. But what kind of tools can help you and your team get out-of-the-box? Seems like way back when, we didn’t spend enough time in training talking about innovation in the “Improve” stage. Armed with the 5 S’s, a DOE and some poka-yoke, we’d trudge on to find the much wanted answer without ever really stopping to think about driving innovation into our thought process. This probably occurred because once we found an answer that seemed to work, we sometimes stopped looking for other options.

A great tool that can keep us on our toes is the morphological box. The morph box helps you divide a solution into various parts and then mix and match the alternatives to sometimes create a whole new solution – one that you may not have initially thought of if you had stopped looking after identifying the first one. The 2007 July/August Issue of iSixSigma Magazine had a nice description of the morph box in the “Tool Spotlight” section. Putting the tool in practice while focusing on innovative solutions can help drive your team to find not just an answer but a better and sometimes more innovative answer.

The whole process of using the morph box reminds me of my kids at the restaurant soda dispenser. A little bit of this and a little bit of that and it’s like they have invented a new drink. So next time you need to quench your thirst for a new and different answer, try using the morph box. It might be the most refreshing thing you’ve tried in years!

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