Part One: Mike’s Opinion
by Mike Carnell
The issue is the bureaucracy that people build around Six Sigma, ISO, etc. It isn’t an initiative issue, it is a management issue – but that isn’t anything new. Deming had issues with management constantly. Look at the way management deploys initiatives. They are doing OFAT. Six Sigma this year, lean next year and treat this whole thing like there are no interactions with something like Change Management or Leadership or even with each other. We even see an appearance of the ‘silver bullet’ in the article – a comment typically reserved for the dumbest person in the room that just wants to participate in the conversation and doesn’t understand the discussion. That is the mantra of the OFAT Leadership Team. There isn’t even any point in discussing the stand taken on it being a manufacturing initiative. Even the brainless Jelly fish don’t do that discussion.
In the case of 3M, they ran the deployment without projects as part of the training model. You end up with a bunch of people who spent 4 weeks sitting in a classroom and no hands on experience. You get what you pay for.
In terms of the killing of innovation, that is nonsense to some degree. If I am making something like Mac and Cheese at Kraft the last thing I was to see is innovation on the production line while some guy dumps a couple gallons of tabasco sauce into the cheese because he thinks spicy will sell better. Every Six Sigma project has to include innovation by definition. A project should end up with some change being made (if there isn’t a change then what did you just do?). If the change was known then it was actually a JDI and should not have been a Six Sigma project to begin with – that issue is with Project Selection. If the project comes up with a NEW solution that is innovation by definition.
Are people really serious about innovation? Go on Monster.com and search for innovation + Design engineer or Innovation + Design Manager. Nobody is looking for anyone except sales people with innovation experience. What does that say? Let’s sell the same old stuff in a new way.
What part of the Six Sigma methodology doesn’t work? All the calculations always work. I have never had Minitab calculate an average wrong. Six Sigma, Lean, etc. go wrong when you put it in the hands of someone that doesn’t understand it.
There needs to be a basic understanding that innovation represents change. Why don’t people want to change? Everybody who reads this should already know the answer to that.
Answering this kind of an article is pretty simple if you just think through what is actually being said and what is not being said. You also need to think about what motivates someone to write an article like this. It isn’t about management or initiatives. It’s about an author trying to look like they have figured out something that nobody else has figured out – very cutting edge/avant-garde. The best part is that they attract all the people who were adverse to any kind of change to begin with.
For those who have read “The Deviant’s Advantage” by Watts Wacker you should recognize that as part of the Six Sigma movement for the last two decades we have been part of the journey from the “fringe” to “social convention”. Not a lot of people get that experience so we are blessed in that sense. By virtue of arriving at Social Convention we also become the target for the new Fringe dwellers.
In the end, we have survived by remaining relevant. We have remained relevant through results, regardless of what methodology we deployed.
>>Read Part 2