In our introductory blog post, we mentioned that one aspect of our blog will be to place a spotlight on unique and interesting work being offered within the Wronski Associates network. This first article, highlights a new workshop on Innovation and Lean and Six Sigma.
When we developed this course, we noticed that many of students who have responsibility for R&D and new product development have been frustrated because they have not been able to achieve the types of breakthrough innovations that their organizations have sought. They might deliver a better flip phone, but they were not creating iPhones.
Many of their organizations have attempted to apply Lean and Six Sigma methodologies to their R&D processes with the goal of delivering faster, cheaper and better products. They theorized that using Lean would speed the time to market of new products and Six Sigma would lower cost and improve quality. Unfortunately, this has not been the result.
As our instructor explores in his workshop, Lean and Six Sigma actually suppress innovation. These methodologies gain their power by removing deviations from the process. Yet, improvements and innovation often come from deviation. In essence, early stage products are simply not stable enough for the disciplines of Lean and Six Sigma because the products are still being formed.
The best approach to early stage new product development is an agile approach where prototypes are tested, adjusted and tested again in an effort to fail as fast as possible in hopes of making corrections that will find or create the best customer experience. Companies should deploy other techniques such as Lateral Thinking and Value Creation Mapping to drive design in the early stage. It is only after the product feasibility and customer experience have been tested, that Lean and Six Sigma can be introduced to develop a strategy for getting the product to market with the optimal configuration of speed, quality and cost.
For more information on our new workshop and the techniques that can be used in early stage product development, please read the course description here or feel free to contact us.
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