Case Studies

How a Six Sigma Black Belt Training Program is Strengthened with Six Thinking Hats and Lateral Thinking Methods

Reporter: Lynda Curtin, The Opportunity Thinker

Future by Design Conference Presenter: Master Trainer, Mike Sproul

Compaq Computer in Houston, Texas worked hard to develop a rigorous Six Sigma program. Once implemented, they identified one significant shortfall—trained black belt leaders had difficulty using Six Sigma tools with teams. Effective facilitation skills and tools were lacking.

Six Thinking Hats® and Lateral Thinking™ tools were selected to resolve this problem because they complimented the Six Sigma tool kit. Here is how they were embedded in the Six Sigma Black Belt training program:

  1. Employees in the Six Sigma Black Belt training program have to have a chartered project signed by a Vice President before they can attend the training. Results are expected and are delivered.
  2. The training is conducted at an off-site location to reduce job distractions.
  3. The program consists of 15 days of training. Three days of that training, 20% of their time investment, is spent learning the process tools - Six Thinking Hats® and Lateral Thinking™, the creative thinking component along with facilitation skills and tools. 
  4. Trained Black Belt employees’ report the first tool they usually use is Six Thinking Hats when they start work with their team.

Six Thinking Hats® and Lateral Thinking™ are powerful process facilitation and creativity tools. They provide robust frameworks for leading productive thinking together meetings.

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