I attended a conference about creativity some weeks ago. It was based in a thinking method called SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking). I will not describe the method deeply, but I liked 2 of its fundamental and counter-intuitive principles:
- Closed world: We create more innovative solutions when the resources in place are limited. Note that “innovative” means “radically different” and not necessarily “better”.
- Function follows form: It is easier to imagine “what can I use this new thing for” (find a use for an existing object) than “I need an object that makes this, how will it look like?” (find an object for an existing need)
Lean works in a similar way many times. Sometimes we must work in a closed world with limited resources, and we come up with solutions that are not expensive or sophisticated…. but they work because they are based in deep observation at the gemba and often using the resources that were already there. It is human to think that if we had more money (people, time) our solutions would be better, but maybe it not the case and this scarcity of resources makes us more creative.
In the same way, PDCA cycles are experiments where we try to prove our hypothesis. We have many potential ideas (“objects”) and we want to find out if they work (“can I find a use for my object?”), so in some ways we are using the function follows form principle.
I’m not aware of any type of interaction between Lean and SIT during their development, but who knows?
More information about SIT: