A very interesting article came in Time, quoting whats happening in 3M – the very company that is synonimous with innovation.
What happened was when James McNarney was brought from GE in 3M, he brought with him 6 sigma. As a result, with a thorugh workout of the processes, everyone in 3M vecame a six sigma “Black Belt” and a very process oriented, efficient company. But to some 3M has lost its soul, which is based on innovation.
This provides a very interesting debate – which is the modern modus operandi for global organizations – innovation and design or process and efficiency. Both proved to be successful on their own, but they proved beyond doubt that they cant co-exist.
Where would you put your bet on? Although we can expect a lot of debate on this subject in near future, one thing can be said safely – Six Sigma and process re-engineering is not the cure-all that it is used to in this new innovation and design obsessed world.