Where Systems Thinking and Continuous
Where systems thinking and continuous improvement meet, you will find an unexpected unity of both static understanding, and fluid transformation. What may seem to be two opposite thought systems, are instead, a cohesive and necessary mingling.
Systems thinking at its simplest, is a management discipline based on identifying a system by its purpose. Performing a thorough examination of its individual parts, and their interconnections or relationships within that system. Continuous improvement as a specific intent, and by its very definition, is a constantly evolving effort to make general or specific improvements to a product, service or process. By joining these two principles, of knowing what is, and what can be, you will gain the ability to understand a system’s elements, interconnections, and purpose. This then, will allow you to clearly identify areas of opportunity, and through use of the scientific method, create a cycle of continuous improvement.
The goal of Lean Six Sigma education is to produce effective change agents. Change agents who double as systems thinkers are able to identify the critical relationships in a system, and determine the most appropriate set of tools for addressing each leverage point. Therefore, an effective Lean Six Sigma educational program incorporates the philosophy of systems thinking and provides a framework of strategies and tools to identify weaknesses in a system along with potential solutions.
The philosophy of systems thinking, and the process of continuous improvement should meet in all Lean Six Sigma educational programs. Be wary if an educational program focuses primarily on the understanding of individual tools and methods yet excludes the philosophy of systems thinking. An individual can possess all of the proper tools, and understand their individual purpose, but will not be able to achieve success without learning how to effectively integrate them.