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Six Sigma Lacks Innovation

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  • #35591

    KLF
    Participant

    In a forum dedicated to Six Sigma one would expect the one-size-fits-all approach found in most answers.I am personally a believer in the program but see Six Sigma tools (even DFSS tools) as falling short of fostering business and product INNOVATION.A recent Reuters article in Forbes supports this claim: http://www.forbes.com/business/newswire/2004/05/13/rtr1371201.htmlDoes anybody have specific suggestions on this topic? How can we most effectively add innovation to the Six Sigma process and toolbox?KLF

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    #100499

    Darth
    Participant

    The author, without providing other than some quotes and personal opinions, seems to have a misplaced view of what SS is all about.  No where did he mention the concept of DFSS which gets a bit outside the box.  Some organizations have been using DMAIIC where one of the I’s stands for innovation.  We are starting to apply Triz to our DMAIC process starting with DFSS.  Article is weak and out of touch with what, I believe, is going on in SS.  I wouldn’t place too much value on it as the ultimate truth.

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    #100501

    mdp69
    Participant

    Innovation is spun from people not Six Sigma (and in Innovations Case – DFSS) is only a tool set to make sure the Innovation makes the Journey successfully.

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    #100503

    Praveen Gupta
    Participant

    The Forbes articles appear to be missing some credibility.  How one can say that if a company x implements six sigma, it would go under. Or, Six Sigma lacks innovation.  To my knowledge, the basic tenet of six sigma is breakthrough improvement, i.e., innovation.  Otherwise, one can not realize six sigma results.
    I do not think Six Sigma lacks innovation.  However, some practitioners or experts have ignored ‘breakthrough’ aspects of Six Sigma. 
    Six Sigma means a lot of improvement very fast, that is only possible through creativity and innovation.
    Praveen
     

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    #100524

    Rog
    Member

    Innovation is a skill/ability. Tools like SS, DFSS, TRIZ etc all help significantly (I especially like the TRIZ approach as a personal choice). However You can give some people the best tool kit in the world and they can’t innovate diddly squat with it. True innovation requires vision….the ability to see the difference between how things are and how they could be. The tools help you get there ( innovation is included) and in many cases make sure that there is an end result to your grand design.
    Rog

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    #100647

    mman
    Participant

    Hi Praveen I agree with you.I still want to know your personal email to ask you for a professional advice.Please let me have it as your other “SS-EXPERT”email is not functioning.my email is: [email protected]             thanks & kind regards.  MMAN

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    #100970

    MBB Lean Master
    Participant

    In MHO, the Forbes journalist did not understand (or key ideas were edited out) that today’s Six Sigma includes 3 components all of which are focused on EXECUTION of the organization’s strategy. The 3 components are: DMAIC, a project based approach for fixing pre-existing processes which are broken; DFSS, a project based approach for designing new projects or services and the processes to deliver them (or, in cases where the pre-existing process is so badly “broken” it makes sense to start over from scratch); and the Business Process Mgmt. System.  The BPMS is what the projects turn their Process Control Plans over to once the project is completed so the improved performance is sustainable for the long run.
    The journalist did not hear or the persons s/he interviewed did not give a full picture of today’s Six Sigma, otherwise the statement: “Six Sigma is not a solution for new products or break thru strategy”  would not be in the article. First, DFSS is specifically targeted at new products. Second, Six Sigma never was a break thru strategy – or any other kind of strategy, for that matter.  Six Sigma is an approach for executing a strategy – if the senior leadship has no strategy, Six Sigma is not going to come up with one!!
    The Hammer quote also speaks to Six Sigma and strategy:  “it’s focus on the bottom line that hinders Six Sigma disciples.  Six Sigma will get you to parity not ahead of your competition.”  Again, it depends on what the strategy is – if the strategy is to get to parity, then Six Sigma will definitely help.  If the strategy is to stabilize the current processes and increase revenue from new products by x% per year then DMAIC will definitely help in stabilizing and DFSS will DEFINITELY help in increasing products and associated revenue.  The point is:  Six Sigma has a track record of dramatically impacting the bottom line AND the top line of any organization that has a strategy linked to one or the other (or both).  What is truly disappointing is that an article in as well circulated a magazine as Forbes, with its financial bent, did not cite any of the statistics (freely available in the annual reports of GE, Honeywell, 3M, Caterpillar, etc.) that show the FINANCIAL RESULTS when the Six Sigma approach is employed to execute on the senior leadership’s strategies.  (as I recall Cat was fully accretive in their first year, spending $29 million and getting $43 million back, for example).  The Forbes article gives an incomplete picture and it didn’t have to – the facts are readily available.

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    #100976

    gt
    Participant

    You are absolutely correct – Six Sigma does not inherently foster business and product innovation, but rather encourages efficient and defect free processes.Six Sigma, per se, is a process improvement methodology. True, I believe that it demonstrates a true return on investment when the solutions generated at the ‘I’ stage are much better than they would have been at the ‘D’ stage of DMAIC, which is nearly always the case, but that is often as far as it goes.Design for Six Sigma is a much miss-used approach that should extend Six Sigma to support the successful introduction of new products and services, but often degenerates into statistical optimization at the micro level.My own take on DfSS is that it should be integrated into the corporate New Product Introduction program (NPI) which begins in the board room. Here, corporate executives armed with a deeper understanding of the business process structure and performance, as well as greater knowledge of the customers’ needs and requirements (from applying Six Sigma across the company), outline new ideas for future products / services that will better meet corporate strategy, satisfy (even excite) customers, and make more money. The NPI program takes these new ideas to market, maximizing their potential returns. DfSS fits within NPI to make the actual ‘design’ part work for everyone, including the customer. DfSS does not give a company new products or services, it helps them design them better! When working with DfSS I often find that companies do not have an NPI to start with, hence no new ideas, and DfSS is often used as a ‘try this’ tool. New products / services are often also often derived from technology push rather than business / customer need pull. Many ‘new products / services’ are actually just iterative technical improvements on existing ideas and lack fundamental innovation.To add innovation to our ideas and products we can use TRIZ, which is the one and only true innovation tool and principle available, and has traditionally been used by large corporation R&D departments. TRIZ can be fitted into Six Sigma, but probably works best in DfSS. The enlightenment in TRIZ is that inventive problems solve inherent contradictions. Much of DfSS (and even Six Sigma) is used to design or work around contradictions (such as speed and quality) rather than using TRIZ tools to innovate and solve the contradiction. Powerful stuff!To add innovation to our business we need to add an NPI program right up to the board room, based firmly on output from company wide Six Sigma understanding of business and customer. This will (hopefully) generate a ‘customer needs’ pull. TRIZ also has much to say about technical evolution and market placement / development, which the modern business executive would do well to understand.Many companies today are in dying markets, and companies drop into a ‘consolidation’ mode, attempting to wring the last drop of efficiency out of the business. The end is both inevitable and painful. The only way to make real money is to innovate successfully and continuously. McDonalds is based on a (at the time) brilliant innovation (that the current company bought up not thought up) to the way food is prepared and served in a restaurant. Customer expectations and market placement have shifted over the decades, and a new innovation is required to restore profitability in this market sector.Traditionally innovation is associated with boffins who are not good at ‘business’; there is a history of one person thinking of a great idea and someone else making money from it. The base point of the article (if you have read it and my comments carefully) is that innovation is a cultural thing, and Six Sigma is also a cultural thing, but that the two don’t mix. To be creative we need to be wild and whacky (type ‘A’), to be good at business (save/make money) we need to be careful and restrained (type ‘B’). This is true, and is an excellent TRIZ contradiction to be solved! Many great companies are large, with a group of wild creative people over there, and a bunch of restrained accountants somewhere else – we separate the conflict by space/person. Many great Six Sigma projects are wild and creative in the ‘I’ stage, and show dignified restraint in the ‘DMA’ stages (but go off the rails at the ‘C’ stage – shifting culture mid stream is hard work!). We separate the conflict by time. The painful DfSS projects are those with a bunch of type ‘A’ and type ‘B’ on the same project, or even worse, the ‘B’s in the boardroom (basic idea) and the ‘A’s on the team (told to make it work).What we need are individuals at all key points in a company who can exhibit both ‘A’ thinking and ‘B’ thinking according to time and need. We cannot make money just by innovating, and we cannot make money just by having efficient processes. We need both.Six Sigma is no longer enough. In the short term add TRIZ – both the tools and the principles. In the longer term work at company culture to blend innovation and corporate governance into the same teams and ultimately the same people – the Black Belts for example – and then move these people up to the senior positions.

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    #100999

    Girish R Tiwari
    Participant

    GT
     Can I have your email ID.
    It is very urgent for me.
     
    Regards

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    #101000

    Girish R Tiwari
    Participant

    Praveen
     
    Can I have your email ID.
    I have to seek some guidance on NPD Process
     
    Regards

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    #101003

    Praveen Gupta
    Participant

    Hello Girish:
    The email is [email protected].
    praveen

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    #101045

    Thomas C. Trible
    Member

    KLF:
    Russ Ackoff and Dr. Deming said much the same thing in different ways about the importance of innovation relative to reducing product defects.  The suggestion that I would make in view of your question is to make a Six Sigma a rational, systemic approach as part of achieving the organization’s mission.  But Six Sigma should not, and cannot be elevated to be the mission of the organization.
    From Dr. Ackoff:
    “Quality Improvement is something that my principal mentor, Whinny the Pooh, once called a GOOD THING. You know, in all capital letters, he always had it.  Given that it’s held so highly, it seems curious that in several national surveys recently conducted, over two-thirds of managers who had authorized the introduction of quality and improvement programs, consider those programs to be failures.  Now the professionals tend to excuse that by saying that the criterion for failure is irrelevant – it’s not what they would have used.  But that’s irrelevant because the definition of quality has to do with meeting or exceeding the expectations of the customer or consumer.  The customer or consumer is the one who authorized the introduction of the program.  And therefore if their expectations are not met, it’s a failure – whatever the expert thinks.  So it’s important, I think, to understand why those failures have occurred, given that quality and improvement are GOOD THINGS, so that we can improve the batting average.
    The hypothesis that I want to set forward to you is – the reason for the failures is primarily the fact that they (the quality improvement activities) have not been imbedded in systems thinking.  They have been anti-systemic applications.   
    If we have a system of improvement that’s directed at improving the parts taken separately, you can be absolutely sure that the performance of the whole will not be improved.   And that can be rigorously proven.  But most applications of improvement programs are directed at improving the parts taken separately – not the whole.”
    Dr. Deming theorized that emphasizing Zero Defects in product quality at the expense of product innovation was destructive to an organization.  In other words, it’s not enough to build a perfect product, one that always meets specifications.  According to Dr. D., “Zero defects is a super highway going down the tube.”  By that he meant if your management system does not emphasize innovation, your organization cannot survive.
    Buggy whips, anyone?

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    #101266

    mark lamfu
    Participant

    Six Sigma is only a tool for improvement and development, it can not ensure the expected result to achieved including innovation, because there are many other factors besides the tool to impact the result.
    I think the concept of striving for zero defect of SS should be starting point of innovation, It tell us need continually to improve/innovate our process as to achive perfection.

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    #101283

    mman
    Participant

    Excellent.What about the book:SS:The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionilizing The World’s Top Corporations (by Mikel Harry & Richard Schroeder).Secondly ,in  few words can you ,please indicate the difference between Lean,SS & TQM?Where each can be best implemented?the meet point,the differences,or just guide me to an article as you seem to be an expert,thanks  & regards.Mman

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