Creativity and problem solving – applications to DMAIC


I participated in an excellent presentation yesterday evening by Ayd Instone (www.aydinstone.com) at the Cambridge Entreprise and Technology Club, held at The Welding Institute, Granta Park.

His illustration of the roles that our left and right hand brains play in our creativity and problem solving gave me some insights into the dilemma that workshop participants often raise when following Lean Sigma’s DMAIC (the structured problem solving approach: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control).

People often worry that if they: identify the problems (or ‘Undesirable Effects’), then the root causes, then the solutions – it might just given them the solutions that they would have thought of at the start i.e. nothing very new. What they often don’t realise, is that going through the process, builds a greater conviction and consensus about what are the right solutions to adopt.  I’ve also addressed this concern in the past by facilitating a separate ‘blue sky’ or ‘out the the box’ creativity session.

Ayd’s presentation made me realise that the problem, root cause, solution linear approach may play too much to the left hand critical / logical thinking, although even there it should be possible to liberate the creative right hand brain. His insights have convinced me that there continues to be value in having the additional ‘blue sky’ thinking session.

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