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Six Sigma Stifles Innovation and Creative Thinking

Benchmarking results consistently identify examples of Six Sigma success. Even so, getting “naysayers” on board is a continuous challenge. What do you tell them?

Nayism 27: Six Sigma is so structured that it stifles innovation and creative thinking.

This is a classic nayism which deserves a classic response. So, here’s what I say . . .

Au contraire mon ami. It is quite the opposite. Six Sigma does not stifle innovation and creative thinking. It facilitates it. Many Six Sigma tools, such as the C&E diagram and FMEA encourage free thinking and collaborative brainstorming. A good facilitator coupled with a diverse team creates the perfect environment for new ideas to emerge when looking for possible causes or when identifying possible solutions. And, once an innovative solution is identified, Six Sigma can help optimize the effectiveness of the solution.

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Still not convinced? Maybe the solution in this case is to commission a Six Sigma team to identify new and creative ways to deal with naysayers!

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Comments 3

  1. Meikah

    I have to agree with you: “Six Sigma does not stifle innovation and creative thinking. It facilitates it.” Of all quality strategies, I think Six Sigma is the most versatile and open to creativity. It works well with other technologies and methodologies.

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  2. Six Sigma Belt

    During analysis for cost savings when applying Six Sigma within an organization, is the time and cost of training and implementing Six Sigma usually considered?

    I can relate to the stifling comment. Sometimes there are processes that hinder the ability for creative works to emerge from an organization simply because the creator whom would have normally created a masterpiece loses motivation when thinking about the miles of processes and approvals required.

    There needs to be a balance!

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  3. Simon Bodie

    I would say one of the most valuable contributions to business from the toolkit is the creativity tools and techniques of Lean and Six Sigma.
    Well applied they can find very simple solutions to very complex problems

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