Protocol: Triple Diamond method for problem solving and design thinking. Rubric validation

Juan A. Marin-Garcia, Julio J. Garcia-Sabater, Jose P. Garcia-Sabater, Julien Maheut


There is a set of tools that we can use to improve the results of each of the phases that continuous improvement projects must go through (8D, PDCA, DMAIC, Double diamond, etc.). These methods use divergent techniques, which help generate multiple alternatives, and convergent techniques that help analyze and filter the generated options. However, the tools used in all those frameworks are often very similar. Our goal, in this research, is to develop a comprehensive model that allows it to be used both for problem-solving and for taking advantage of opportunities. This protocol defines the main terms related to our research, makes a framework proposal, proposes a rubric that identifies observable milestones at each stage of the model and proposes the action plan to validate this rubric and the model in a given context. The action plan will be implemented in a future research.


protocol; problem-solving; design thinking; framework; PDCA; 8D; DMAIC; 6-sigma; process improvement; kaizen

Full Text:



Al-Mashari, M., Zairi, M., & Ginn, D. (2005). Key enablers for the effective implementation of qfd: A critical analysis. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 105(9), 1245-1260.

Alsyouf, I., Al-Aomar, R., Al-Hamed, H., & Qiu, X. J. (2011). A framework for assessing the cost effectiveness of lean tools. European Journal of Industrial Engineering, 5(2), 170-197.

Anderson-Cook, C. M., Patterson, A., & Hoerl, R. (2005). A structured problem-solving course for graduate students: Exposing students to six sigma as part of their university training. Quality and Reliability Engineering International, 21(3), 249-256.

Beckman, S. L. (2020). To frame or reframe: Where might design thinking research go next? California Management Review, 62(2), 144-162.

Buhl, A., Schmidt-Keilich, M., Muster, V., Blazejewski, S., Schrader, U., Harrach, C., . . . Sussbauer, E. (2019). Design thinking for sustainability: Why and how design thinking can foster sustainabilityoriented innovation development. Journal of Cleaner Production, 231, 1248-1257.

Camarillo, A., Rios, J., & Althoff, K. D. (2018). Knowledge-based multi-agent system for manufacturing problem solving process in production plants. Journal of Manufacturing Systems, 47, 115-127.

Caulliraux, A. A., Bastos, D. P., Araujo, R., & Costa, S. R. (2020). Organizational optimization through the double diamond applying interdisciplinarity. Brazilian Journal of Operations & Production Management, 17(4), 12.

Chavez, B. A. C., & Miguel-Davila, J. A. (2017). Teaching experience of application of kaizen in a company. WPOM-Working Papers on Operations Management, 8, 58-61.

Cheng, C. Y., & Chang, P. Y. (2012). Implementation of the lean six sigma framework in non-profit organisations: A case study. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 23, 431-447.

Chin, D. B., Blair, K. P., Wolf, R. C., Conlin, L. D., Cutumisu, M., Pfaffman, J., & Schwartz, D. L. (2019). Educating and measuring choice: A test of the transfer of design thinking in problem solving and learning. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 28(3), 337-380.

Clune, S. J., & Lockrey, S. (2014). Developing environmental sustainability strategies, the double diamond method of lca and design thinking: A case study from aged care. Journal of Cleaner Production, 85, 67-82.

de Mast, J., & Lokkerbol, J. (2012). An analysis of the six sigma dmaic method from the perspective of problem solving. International Journal of Production Economics, 139(2), 604-614.

Dell'Era, C., Magistretti, S., Cautela, C., Verganti, R., & Zurlo, F. (2020). Four kinds of design thinking: From ideating to making, engaging, and criticizing. Creativity and Innovation Management, 29(2), 324-344.

Design Council. (2007). Eleven lessons. A study of the design process. London: British Design Council. Retrieved 9 Septemeber 2018.

Doran, G. T. (1981). There's a smart way to write management's goals and objectives. Management Review, 70(11), 35-36.

Durango, J. V. V., Carazo, P. C. M., & Tanco, J. A. A. (2017). Experiences of teaching innovation for the consolidation of a r&d&i culture. WPOM-Working Papers on Operations Management, 8, 125-139.

Easton, G. S., & Rosenzweig, E. D. (2012). The role of experience in six sigma project success: An empirical analysis of improvement projects. Journal of Operations Management, 30(7-8), 481-493.

Elsbach, K. D., & Stigliani, I. (2018). Design thinking and organizational culture: A review and framework for future research. Journal of Management, 44(6), 2274-2306.

Gangidi, P. (2019). A systematic approach to root cause analysis using 3 x 5 why's technique. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 10(1), 295-310.

Garcia-Sabater, J. P. (2020). Rodillas de titanio kapeju. RiuNet. Repositorio Institucional UPV.

Garcia-Sabater, J. P., & Garcia-Sabater, J. J. (2020). Introducción a la mejora continua. Nota tecnica. RiuNet. Repositorio Institucional UPV.

Garza-Reyes, J. A. (2015). Green lean and the need for six sigma. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 6(3), 226-248.

Geldermann, J., Lerche, N., & Sepulveda, J. D. (2018). Combining multi-criteria decision analysis and design thinking. European Journal of Industrial Engineering, 12(5), 708-739.

Gomez-Gasquet, P., Verdecho, M. J., Rodriguez-Rodriguez, R., & Alfaro-Saiz, J. J. (2018). Formative assessment framework proposal for transversal competencies: Application to analysis and problem-solving competence. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management-Jiem, 11(2), 334-340.

Guo, W., Jiang, P. Y., Xu, L., & Peng, G. Z. (2019). Integration of value stream mapping with dmaic for concurrent lean-kaizen: A case study on an air-conditioner assembly line. Advances in Mechanical Engineering, 11(2), 17.

Hoover, S. M. (1990). Problem finding/solving in science: Moving toward theory. Creativity Research Journal, 3(4), 330-332. (2012). Design thinking for educators.

Isaksen, S., Dorval, K., & Treffinger, D. J. (2000). Creative approaches to problem solving: Kendall Hunt Pub Co.

Mabogunje, A., Sonalkar, N., & Leifer, L. (2016). Design thinking: A new foundational science for engineering. International Journal of Engineering Education, 32(3), 1540-1556.

Marin-Garcia, J. A. (2020). Desarrollo colaborativo: Covid-19 en juventud española. RiuNet. Repositorio Institucional UPV.

Marin-Garcia, J. A., Garcia-Sabater, J. J., & Maheut, J. (2018). Protocol: Action planning for action research about kaizen in public organizations. The case of higher education. WPOM-Working Papers on Operations Management, 9(1), 13.

Marques, P. A. D., & Matthe, R. (2017). Six sigma dmaic project to improve the performance of an aluminum die casting operation in portugal. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 34(2), 307-330.

Martinez-Martinez, A., Suarez, L. M. C., Montero, R. S., & del Arco, E. A. (2018). Knowledge management as a tool for improving business processes: An action research approach. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management-Jiem, 11(2), 276-289.

Matsuo, M., & Nakahara, J. (2013). The effects of the pdca cycle and ojt on workplace learning. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(1), 195-207

Mazur, L., Chen, G., & Prescott, B. (2008). Pragmatic evaluation of the toyota production system (tps) analysis procedure for problem solving with entry-level nurses. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 1(2), 240-268.

Micheli, P., Wilner, S. J. S., Bhatti, S. H., Mura, M., & Beverland, M. B. (2019). Doing design thinking: Conceptual review, synthesis, and research agenda. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 36(2), 124-148.

Mosely, G., Wright, N., & Wrigley, C. (2018). Facilitating design thinking: A comparison of design expertise. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 27, 177-189.

Nagi, A., & Altarazi, S. (2017). Integration of value stream map and strategic layout planning into dmaic approach to improve carpeting process. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management-Jiem, 10(1), 74-97.

Nascimento, D. L. D., Quelhas, O. L. G., Caiado, R. G. G., Tortorella, G. L., Garza-Reyes, J. A., & Rocha-Lona, L. (2019). A lean six sigma framework for continuous and incremental improvement in the oil and gas sector. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 11(3), 577-595.

Nedra, A., Nejib, S., Yassine, C., & Morched, C. (2019). A new lean six sigma hybrid method based on the combination of pdca and the dmaic to improve process performance: Application to clothing sme. Industria Textila, 70(5), 447-456.

Paipa-Galeano, L., Bernal-Torres, C. A., Agudelo-Otalora, L. M., Jarrah-Nezhad, Y., & Gonzalez-Blanco, H. A. (2020). Key lessons to sustain continuous improvement: A case study of four companies. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management-Jiem, 13(1), 195-211.

Pinto, M. J. A., & Mendes, J. V. (2017). Operational practices of lean manufacturing: Potentiating environmental improvements. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 10(4 Special Issue), 550-580.

Rafferty, B. (2009). Understanding a3 thinking: A critical component of toyota's pdca management system. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 26(2), 243-244.

Realyvasquez-Vargas, A., Arredondo-Soto, K. C., Garcia-Alcaraz, J. L., & Macias, E. J. (2020). Improving a manufacturing process using the 8ds method. A case study in a manufacturing company. Applied Sciences-Basel, 10(7).

Sanchez-Ruiz, L., Blanco, B., & Gomez-Lopez, R. (2019). Continuous improvement enablers: Defining a new construct. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management-Jiem, 12(1), 51-69.

Sanchez-Ruiz, L., Marin-Garcia, J. A., & Blanco, B. (2018). Protocol: A meta-review on continuous improvement to know the state of this research field. WPOM-Working Papers on Operations Management, 9(2).

Scholtes, P. R., Joiner, B. L., & Streibel, B. J. (2003). The team handbook. Madison: Oriel.

Senapathi, M., & Drury-Grogan, M. L. Systems thinking approach to implementing kanban: A case study. Journal of Software-Evolution and Process, 16.

Shahin, A., & Mahbod, M. A. (2007). Prioritization of key performance indicators: An integration of analytical hierarchy process and goal setting. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 56(3), 226-240.

Smalley, A. (2018). Four types of problem solving. Cambridge: Lean Enterpdise Institute.

Song, M. H., & Fischer, M. (2020). Daily plan-do-check-act (pdca) cycles with level of development (lod) 400 objects for foremen. Advanced Engineering Informatics, 44, 12.

Suarez-Barraza, M. F., & Rodriguez-Gonzalez, F. G. (2015). Bringing kaizen to the classroom: Lessons learned in an operations management course. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 26(9-10), 1002-1016.

Sunder, V. M. (2016). Constructs of quality in higher education services. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 65(8), 1091-1111.

Tapping, D. (2008). The simply lean pocket guide. Making great organizations better through plan-docheck-act (pdca) kaizen activities. United States of America: MCS Media, Inc. Tschimmel, K. (2012). Design thinking as an effective toolkit for innovation. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience, Barcelona.

Van Til, R. P., Tracey, M. W., Sengupta, S., & Fliedner, G. (2009). Teaching lean with an interdisciplinary problem-solving learning approach. International Journal of Engineering Education, 25(1), 173-180.

Vernon, D., Hocking, I., & Tyler, T. C. (2016). An evidence-based review of creative problem solving tools: A practitioner's resource. Human Resource Development Review, 15(2), 230-259.

Wei, W. J., Wang, S. C., Wang, H. L., & Quan, H. J. (2020). The application of 6s and pdca management strategies in the nursing of covid-19 patients. Critical Care, 24(1), 4.

Abstract Views

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Universitat Politècnica de València

e-ISSN: 1989-9068