Newsletter – June, 2013

On My Mind

Leaders of organizations sometimes emphasize innovation as a means to improve organizational performance. Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) has emerged as one of the best practice innovation methods used in industry. The most commonly used DFSS method is DMADV (Define-Measure-Analyze-Design-Verify). This is considered a breakthrough or innovation method instead of an improvement method like DMAIC. A design project can be both exciting and frustrating. Exciting because you are creating something new to the world. Frustrating because you can’t typically generate creative ideas on command. There might be some project team meetings where creativity just doesn’t happen. It is difficult to schedule or control the creative process. One of my favorite book passages which captures the essence of this for me is spoken by Zarathustra, one of Friedrich Nietzsche’s characters in his book titled, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.” Hopefully, out of the chaos that is a design project will emerge a dancing star. Some of the common tools/techniques that are used during a design project are the Multi-Generation Project Plan (MGPP), Gantt Chart, Observation, Interviews, Focus Groups, Kano Model, Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Idea Box, Analogy Brainstorming, TRIZ, Design Evaluation Matrix, Prototyping, and the Process Control Plan. Best wishes if your organization strives to become more innovative. May your organization give birth to many dancing stars.

Interesting Stories

I appreciate it more now when someone “older” performs an amazing feat. The horse named Oxbow recently won the Preakness—one of the Triple Crown races. What makes this story interesting is that Oxbow had the second longest shot of winning the race according to the odds makers; was trained by D. Wayne Lukas who is 77; and was ridden by jockey Gary Stevens who is 50 and who recently came back from seven years of retirement. Thank you gentlemen—and Oxbow—for your inspiring performance.

Company News

The event to “Celebrate the Life of Dr. George E. P. Box” held May 5 at the First Unitarian Society in Madison, WI was beautiful and befitting of a person who touched the lives of so many people. Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC again sponsored the Performance Excellence Network (PEN) Annual Conference held May 14-15 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, MN. The two days left me inspired and energized. There is still time to register for the upcoming public seminar: Measuring Performance Over Time (June 20). Brochures are accessible by selecting the “SERVICES” tab on the home page. The Fifth Annual Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held September 17 at the BayView Event Center in Excelsior, MN. The Strategy Tools for Continuous Improvement public seminar has been added to the schedule (October 22) due to popular demand.

Intriguing Reads

Several thought leaders have come to the conclusion that a permanent competitive advantage is nearly impossible today because of the dramatic changes that continue to occur throughout the world. Strategies that worked in the past for a business might now be inadequate. Rita Gunther McGrath expertly describes this phenomenon in her book titled, The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business. Give this book a read if you want to gain some insights into how to cope with transient competitive advantages.