Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Getting Boatloads of Ideas

Just received the latest newsletter on Lean from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers .  Included is a terrific article on cultivating ideas from staff .  It describes a method and power from getting lots and lots of ideas…2-5 per employee per month.  Not suggestions, but implemented ideas, at the workplace level.  

It stems from a new book, Ideas Are Free by Robinson and Schroeder.  I haven’t read it yet, but it appears to be useful.   

My experience (further grounded by observing two daily start up meetings just this morning) is that the team leader is a key person in getting these local improvements.  When she a) identifies an annoyance and then b) asks for a way to address that annoyance, she lets the team know that it is OK to make proposals.  When she then follows up on them, encourages them, charts them, and (gasp) requests others to make further improvements on the improvements, the team gets the hang of it.   

OTOH, when the team leader sees local improvements as an imposition of paperwork and/or boring and/or irrelevant, surprise, the group shows little involvement in improvement.   

Check out this book or The Idea Generator: Quick and Easy Kaizen by Norman Bodek.  Great material.  And then you can make it happen on the shop floor. 

I hope this is helpful. 

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