I am sure we are all familiar with Six Sigma and Jack Welch. I personally believe that we should understand best practices in Industry to have a better appreciation of Design Thinking.
If we go back in history Deming went to Japan and took them to a new level.
So like Bruce Mau says we need a good mix of art and science to make a difference in any walk of life.
Please let me know if this would be a subject of interest for us to pursue. Design Thinking is not the ultimate end but the beginning of the journey.
I was recently involved in a project to design a new production line. I believe we used a mix of Design Thinking and Design for Six Sigma. An interesting fact here is that we did not go and get a black belt. We learnt the techniques as we progressed. We did use a lot of the techniques Tim Brown expounds as well as Deming statistical techniques to convince the system integrator of the need the make improvements. I strongly believe that the new line will hit the road running and produce a minimum yield of 95%. We read all the latest methodologies and incrementally improved on the system. I believe the key is to use what works for us rather than follow a cult. There is no magic bullet, it is continuous improvement all the way. Are we back to PDCA Good old Deming knew what was good for us.
There is a fine line between Design for Products, Manufacturing or Service
Design Thinking encourages out of the box thinking but probably ignores Statistics
However they all have common ground. It all starts with Define
Generally called Problem Definition but Opportunity Definition is probably a cool term for it
As I have always said Design Thinking has been practiced in various forms over the years.
Tim Brown from IDEO has used it successfully to convince clients that it is a method on par or adds more value than Six Sigma.
However for us professionals these are methodologies to use as a guide in our professional work.
Ours is a creative profession and we may come up with variations on the theme as go go about our projects
One of my friends is going to present a project to a group which as some people from the automobile industry. I am sure he is going to bone up on Six Sigma and Kaizen so that he can show the group the advantages of Design Thinking Methodologies
I think at some time Six Sigma became an elitist activity with people getting certified as Black Belts etc but now it is more towards Lean Six Sigma with shorter gestation periods for projects.
Cross training in other professions is an important part of our professional life if we want to keep ahead of the pack.
I will continue to post on this subject to help me understand more of Design Thinking.
Very interesting information! Actually, I had also to look up information regarding TRIZ.
While analyzing Six Sigma and TRIZ tools (and I should stress here that my background is not an engineering one) and trying to relate them with Design Thinking, I think that the matter was not one of preferring one in detriment of the other, but actually that in some cases both are needed and perhaps interchangeable.
I think Design Thinking might be put to better use when innovation implementation / creation is needed (even with overall company strategy / culture), while Six Sigma / TRIZ should definitely enter the scene whenever quality control and measurement is needed.
The truth is that, as McKewon (2008) notes, in order to innovate one should be able to measure at some point. Only then are we able to check whether we are innovating in the right direction.
Actually the article "Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System" (in HBR, 1999, by Steven Spear and H. Kent Brown), although never using the terms "Design Thinking", "Six Sigma" or even "Triz" gives a good illustration how design thinking could make the difference.
In fact, the authors try to understand why some companies (e.g GM, Ford) that replicated the TPS, have failed to replicate Toyota successfully. My interpretation, at some point, was that perhaps these other companies might have been worrying too much with measurement issues (Six Sigma / TRIZ) and overlooking innovation DNA / identity of the company (where I guess Design Thinking has something to say).
I came up with a term to describe this effect which, translating from portuguese, would be something like "COMPREHENTREPRENEURSHIP", and stresses the importance for companies to "comprehend" which areas they want to innovate, before embarking in an innovative "enterprise".
I also think that "design thinking" brings to the table issues such as prototyping and customer-focused, which are lacking in the other systems, and probably need to be measured (with six sigma, perhaps) later on to see whether the innovation is following the right path...
don't know whether I am making any sense... hope so...
Thanks for the comments. What you say makes a lot of sense. I am particularly happy that you brought up the question of measurement. There is a need to baseline before and measure after
I also liked the new term you coined "COMPREHENTREPRENEURSHIP" and we will include that in our Glossary
You made my day and I can see that we will all have a very interesting and fruitful journey as we take Design Thinking to greater heights by you embarking on your business venture. Keep challenging the team with your thoughts, ideas, questions and suggestions.
Although an interesting proposition, I strongly recommend reading "Six Sigma: Lessons from Deming" from Dr A D Burns, June 2007. I think it is time to debunk Six Sigma which in Deming's own words "misses the point" (p.226, The New Economics).
I enjoyed reading the referenced article. Well referenced and very well articulated.The article did a good job on exposing the weaknesses in Six sigma methodology. There is a good reason Design Thinking is being embraced by forward looking companies. Kindly give us your thoughts on Extended Six Sigma posted else where. I believe there may be times when we have to look at Statistical data and the tools Deming used will work for most cases. Design Thinkers could use them if they add value to the project. It does make good business sense to use best practices which add value.
Greetings...This is a very interesting discussion. I've been a 6 Sigma / Lean practitioner for about 10 years teaching and applying 6S, Lean, DFSS, and TRIZ. I have always felt the DFSS process to be somewhat weak in identifying truly innovative ideas(to meet those latent needs of "customers") even with the use of TRIZ early in the process. Thus, I've interjected into my teaching the idea of "prototype early and often". After reading and learning more about Design Thinking, I think there is a real marriage between the concepts. In the area of service design, I feel this is a must since the customer touchpoint "density" is so high. Additionally, getting to a "transfer function", or in other words an equation relating the process variables to the response variable which can be used for capability flowup is very rare in service design. By the time you're at that stage of the design, you may already have missed out on a need or want that differentiates your offering.
Ray, welcome and thanks for joining the discussion "prototype early and often" I agree, this is a must for any project we do and a most appropriate statement as we ideate. Another area I have been having second thoughts about is DOE. DOE seems to be worthless if we do not screen heavily and have a process in control to start with. What are your thoughts?
In my experience, a DOE should only be used after the more "passive" data gathering/analysis tools have been exercised. Often, the problem can be solved (and a causal understanding achieved) without ever having to do a DOE. For physical systems (involving mechanical, electrical, chemical, etc elements), a DOE is fine (after we've applied the more basic tools), but even so, it is an attempt to model the physics. If we can increase our understanding of the underlying physics (which generally causes people to actually have to remember their schooling !), it is much more powerful when trying to change or control the system. In cases where the system involves human behavior, a model obtained by experimentation is usually an adequate solution.