Chris Bernard on Why Six Sigma is Just Table Stakes Now--And so is Design.
“When I read this post it often reminds of how misinterpreted that Nicolas Carr was when he wrote IT doesn’t matter. What people missed is not that Nick thought you didn’t need to pay attention to IT, simply that is was expected that you would master it to whatever degree was required in your enterprise. Great IT wasn’t going to get you a pat on the back, it was merely a requirement to get in the door. Six Sigma can certainly bury a company and it by no means ensures that a company will make things that people may want or be useful (although they could still perhaps be well made.)
What similar about Six Sigma concerning IT Doesn’t Matter is that quality and reliability are now also a ‘table stake.’ You simply need to have them to play anymore and you’re certainly not going to get rewarded for doing them well.
But I think the next table stake is going to be design. In that people will simply expect things to be well designed and companies won’t be rewarded for it as much as it will simply be a requirement for playing.
I personally think on the design front we already see design as a table stake. So what is the enterprise to do? I think this is where innovation comes in. I think Apple and Target are successful because of how they use design (along with IT and quality) to create platforms of innovation. The success of the iPod is largely not just of the device but that platforms and services that surround it.
Target does this to high effect as well with things like the Clear RX bottle which is beautiful, useful but also has an impact of increasing foot traffic in a store if Target can get a customer to start using their pharmacy more frequently.
So perhaps this is a long winded way of acknowledging Tom Peter’s work and understanding today that the new table stakes might really be the trinity that is evangelized by Doblin (roughly paraphrased as…”What does the market need, what can technology do, what do customes desire.)
The trick for the future vitality of companies is figuring out the processes that are culturally viable in your enterprise that enables you to build platforms on which you can innovate on. Getting mired too much in any one area (even design) is not going to enable the continued vitality of most enterprises.”
Thanks Chris. Food for thought.