Six Sigma and the Myth that “the Customer’s Always Right”

Ever wonder where that cliched phrase came from?  The head of the U.K.-based Selfridge's department store chain coined it.  Unfortunately, it probably wasn't any more true then than it is now, and poor Mr. Selfridge died penniless and insane.  This is one of many interesting little asides to a piece on "the voice of the customer" by Peter Pande that we'll be publishing and posting on our web site shortly. Stay tuned. Business Week online just posted a piece whose title says it all:  "Six Sigma---So Yesterday" (a phrase that, itself, is already passe---and I can say this with certainty because I have a teenager at home).  The gist of this article (click here to read) is that Six Sigma just isn't right for an "innovation economy."  But Pande's May interview made it clear that it's the misinterpretation and misapplication of Six Sigma that are to blame, not the basic concept.  One can't use manufacturing metrics for R&D, Pande says, but, properly applied, Six Sigma can work for R&D as well as it does for manufacturing.  In case you missed it, here's Pande's article.