Ron Ashkenas is a managing partner of Schaffer Consulting and a co-author of The GE Work-Out (It is a six sigma related initiative) and The Boundaryless Organization. His latest book is Simply Effective.
Innovation thinker Vijay Govindarajan says, "The more you hardwire a company on total quality management, [the more] it is going to hurt breakthrough innovation. The mindset that is needed, the capabilities that are needed, the metrics that are needed, the whole culture that is needed for discontinuous innovation, are fundamentally different."
The author concludes:
Continuous improvement doesn't have to be incompatible with disruptive innovation.
But unless we think about continuous improvement in more subtle, nuanced, and creative ways, we may force companies to choose between the two.
Industrial engineering have to take note of the ideas in this blog post.