Project Management

DMAIC for Innovation (Part 1)

Braden Kelley is an innovation and change specialist, the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, an InnovationExcellence.com co-Founder, and is the creator of the Change Planning Toolkit™ and a book on the best practices and next practices of organizational change (January 2016 release).

As I get my feet wet in the health insurance industry and start to move forward in crafting a plan to deliver improvements and innovation to the membership and billing organization, it is very clear that the organization is very focused on Lean and removing waste from its processes.

In the spirit of Lean and process improvement, I thought I would share some thoughts on Six Sigma and the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) framework that I pulled together. In future articles, I will share my thoughts about Lean and its intersection with innovation.

But in the meantime, here is my DMAIC for innovation...

Can the popular Six Sigma framework be adapted to look at innovation?
Much has been written about how a formal Six Sigma approach and a formal approach to innovation cannot co-exist. But is that really true?

On the surface, these two formal approaches personify the natural tension between exploitation and exploration activities within any organization. Six Sigma is generally thought of as an exploitation activity, while innovation is usually associated with exploration. When I speak of exploitation, I’m not speaking of child labor and deforestation, but of optimizing the transformation of organization’s inputs into profitable outputs under its existing business model. And when I speak of exploration, I’m referring to …


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