The fragility of innovation—the ease with which it can be lost, even with the best of intentions—is emerging as a key management theme. At IN, we've been exploring the idea that, in an era of innovation-led growth, Six Sigma may be oh-so-20th-century. In our last issue, we showed how Symbol Technologies (MOT) lost its mojo when its Six Sigma discipline stifled creativity. In this issue, we examine 3M (MMM), one of the great innovators of American business. No doubt both companies needed more process discipline to cut costs, but the price paid proved to be awfully high. Managing the yin and yang of efficiency and creativity is one of the greatest challenges facing managers around the world. The 3M story illustrates that.
By Bruce Nussbaum, Editor