Category: Idea Driven Organization

How To Tell If A Hotel Has A Good Employee Idea System in 20 minutes thumbnail

I used to play a game with my daughters when they were younger. Whenever we stayed in a hotel or motel, we tried to see who could figure out the quickest if it had a good idea system. It usually didn’t take longer than 15 to 20 minutes. Most often, it would be because we found an obvious problem that front-line employees were all aware of, but had been unaddressed. One time, for example, we drove up to Montreal  »  Read More

A Journey of Discovery: TWI and the Origins of Lean thumbnail

  In late winter of 1989 Alan Robinson and I were working on an article dealing with the power of front-line ideas. Alan had recently returned from Japan where he had been given exceptional access to a number of Japanese manufacturers, and had been able to study their processes in depth. His research had convinced him that part of the key to the manufacturing efficiency of these leading Japanese companies was  »  Read More

Idea Triggers: New Perspectives on Your Work That Will Make You Think Of Many More Ideas thumbnail

As Leonardo da Vinci observed, problem-sensitivity is a key driver of ideas. Ideas come from problems and opportunities, so to have more ideas you have to train yourself to see more problems. One way to do this in an organizational setting is to come up with fresh perspectives on the work that you and your team do. A number of years ago, we were at the headquarters of Dana Corporation in Toledo, Ohio. At the time  »  Read More

Green Is Free?

Making Your Green Initiative Pay Big Dividends

Imagine an automobile manufacturer producing over a thousand cars a day, employing 3500 people, and putting less waste in landfills every year than an average family does every day. And imagine its green initiative is adding millions to the company’s bottom line each year. The Subaru manufacturing plant in Lafayette, Indiana (Subaru Indiana Automotive, or SIA) is such a company. Its last waste shipment was sent to  »  Read More

How Power Can Blind Managers To Front-Line Ideas

Why do so few organizations and leaders put much value on the ideas of their front-line people? Why do most leaders end up building institutions that generally do much better at suppressing these ideas than promoting them? There are many reasons. Here’s a major one. Consider the constant reminders of their superiority that managers are bombarded with in the course of their daily work. They wear the suits, they  »  Read More

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