Creativity and quality clearly stimulates creativity. However, it

and innovation have recently emerged as the latest focus of the manufacturing
world, replacing established approaches, such as Six Sigma. Some have gone so
far as to suggest that Six Sigma inhibits organizations from being creative and
innovating.  The paper confirms that Six
Sigma has a positive and comprehensive impact on changing the management

Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews current
literature on creativity and innovation, and based on extensive study of Six Sigma
and Quality, compare and contrast the approaches, searching for common ground.

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Findings – The
paper finds that the terms creativity and innovation are not a separate entity and
that Six Sigma and quality clearly stimulates creativity. However, it is not the
best method for identifying ideas for breakthrough innovation. Therefore, to
have a holistic improvement system, organizations must combine Six Sigma and
quality with other methods and approaches like Kaizen, lean principles that are
better suited to breakthrough innovation.

implications – The
findings suggest that organizations should develop holistic improvement
approaches that are not based on one methodology, no matter how good that
methodology is.

Originality/value – The paper provides a balanced
viewpoint on continuous improvement and innovation, avoiding a position of
advocacy of one versus the other. This proper context should help organizations
properly integrate both into a broader improvement system.

Keywords— Six Sigma,






In today’s competitive business environments, firms
are under intense pressure to systematically produce tangible quality
achievements, control quality standards and generate positive bottom line
results. Six Sigma is a systematic quality improvement
approach for firm-wide management for the purpose of improving performance in
terms of quality, productivity, customer satisfaction, and profitability Six
Sigma has been adopted by many organizations to develop and strive for
excellence in quality standards and innovations. Six Sigma program is not just
about doing things better, it is a way of doing better things. While ”innovation” has a strong link to newness,
creativity and unconventionality, ”quality” concepts like standardization,
low tolerance and systematic procedure adhere. Therefore combining the concepts
of innovation and quality, which are powerful and extensive in them, requires
at least a short analysis of both in order to purposefully integrate them and
thereby generate a consistent framework for a new concept.

 The paper studies the requirement of
innovation in Six Sigma methodology and the use PDSA loop (acronym for
Plan-Do-Study-Act loop) can be used to implement a step by step procedure to achieve
an atmosphere of innovation before implementation of any quality concepts in an
organization like TQM, Six Sigma, lean principles Kaizen etc for retention of
the concept.




Economic sustainability is one of the most critical
issues facing manufacturers today (Found et al., 2006). With the threat posed
by low-labour-cost countries, followed by the customer preferred requirements
of a more consumer conscious society, it is becoming increasingly difficult for
manufacturers to remain cost competitive. The closure of numerous manufacturing
companies over recent years, resulting in the loss of thousands of
manufacturing jobs proves that the struggle for survival has become increasingly
difficult. Over the years, a number of business improvement strategies,
methodologies, tools and techniques have been proposed and developed aimed at
enhancing the productivity of organisations. Total Quality Management, Business
Process Re-engineering, Just-In-Time and “Lean”, “Agility” and Six Sigma are
just a few examples. Despite the reported success of these initiatives at
increasing profits and market share for manufacturers, there are still a
significant number of companies battling to keep their heads above the
turbulent waters (Hines, 2004).


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