Was Six Sigma A Fad? Search Trends Indicate Waning Interest

I was comparing some data the other day regarding lean versus six sigma, and the hybrid lean six sigma, systems and I found some interesting information.

This photo displays a graph of six sigma vs lean search terms from 2004 til present.

Turns out, lean has enjoyed a roller coaster search history, but taken on average, it has been relatively consistent since search results have been recorded since 2004 worldwide. Six Sigma, on the other hand, has been dealing with a sliding board of interest.  It seems it might be on its way out.  Perhaps it was more of a fad than some holistic “cure-all” for industry.  I thought it was interesting to compare the main searcher for “lean” in industry, India, to my country, the United States, to see how we both seem to rank the terms.



India is either abandoning all of these systems, or it may indicate a decline in manufacturing there.

The United States, though having taken massive hits in industry in the last few decades, seems to still embrace lean ideologies.

Both seem to be jumping from the Six Sigma ship, though.

Why do you think that is?  I’d love to hear your educated guesses.