I was in a discussion today regarding what most people would consider Stephen Covey’s Circle of Influence (the concept at least). I was told that it was actually Peter Drucker’s concept. That they had for some reason agreed to allow Covey to use it in his book. We then discussed the Deming Cycle (PDCA) or what Deming referred to as the Shewhart Cycle (his mentor & colleague who introduced it to him). Toyota was not the first company/organisation to standardise components, that honour goes to the Chinese (at least as far as history can tell – see here). The idea of the Kanban system came from Piggly Wiggly in the US.
There is nothing new under the sun, and it doesn’t really matter who combined, developed, identified, named or otherwise drew attention to any of the concepts & principles used in Lean, Six Sigma or whatever you call your continuous improvement program. I prefer Dynamic Organisations. The only thing that matters, is that the organisation is developing systems to make problems obvious, solving those problems rapidly & sharing out the newly gained knowledge along the way. All the time with leaders developing their people to do those first three things.
No, I didn’t figure this out, I have pulled it together from a variety of sources, arguably Stephen Spear was the most predominant, but there were others. Several organisations I have worked with have simplified it to See, Solve, Share – leaving the development of others as a given.
Regardless, the point of all of this is that it doesn’t have to be new, it doesn’t have to be created locally. There is no shame in using concepts that work, even if they “weren’t invented here”. The details may need to be modified to fit the local processes, how to visualise, which problem solving techniques are best suited to the types of problems you face (machinery, process, people, environmental, etc…) etc… but proven concepts are proven concepts. Principles that work, always work. Common sense is common sense. Don’t think that you are too clever to use something someone else pulled together. There is nothing new under the sun…