H. James Harrington’s picture

By H. James Harrington

There’s so much information in the world today that letting people recreate their own databases is a luxury we can’t afford. If we were all allowed to create our own basic concepts without any standardization, we couldn’t effectively interact with each other. Imagine trying to communicate if each person spoke a unique language, or how hard it would be to pay a bill if every individual used a different numbering system.

Often, our education keeps us from conceiving truly creative solutions. It’s important to realize that education doesn’t make an individual creative. In fact, it often has the opposite effect because there’s less need to use creativity on a continuous basis. Someone else is always supplying the answers. Of course, having an education doesn’t prohibit an individual from being creative, either. Highly creative, educated individuals don’t rely on their education to solve their problems. They use it to develop improved solutions.

We begin reducing a child’s natural creative urges early in life by saying, “Don’t try to be creative. We already have an answer that’s better than anything you can create.” Here is an example:

H. James Harrington’s picture

By H. James Harrington

In the early 1980s, Matsushita’s Japanese management team bought the Quasar division from Motorola, and through the use of sound industrial-management techniques, significantly cut defect rates and cycle times.

At that time, Motorola was having major problems. Shortly thereafter, the company launched its Six Sigma program, which offered a huge opportunity for extremely high returns on investment. In addition to Six Sigma, Motorola also initiated active process redesigning activities focused primarily on cycle-time reduction. For the next five years, Motorola’s problem-solving approach was Walter A. Shewhart’s plan-do-check-act model. Motorola had no formal training to measure, analyze, improve, and control (MAIC); however, in 1991, Motorola developed the concepts of Black Belt and Master Black Belt training using the MAIC methodology, which was a slight modification of Shewhart’s model.

Motorola’s Six Sigma program consisted of the following:

Record hard savings

Focus on measurements

Statistical analysis

Process mapping

Process capability analysis

Statistical process control