I’m still battling to get a working MacBook… so today’s post will be short… but I hope to prompt some good discussion with it in the comments.
When I teach Kaizen methods for continuous improvement, one of the things I recommend is a structured card for capturing problems and ideas for improvement.
The standard card I’ve used looks like this on the front:
The templates include editable Powerpoint doc files so you can customize these cards to make them your own, as I encourage people to do.
You can call this a “Kaizen Card.” But, some people don’t like using Japanese words….
So you could call this:
- Kaizen Card
- Idea Card
- Improvement Card
- Daily Improvement Card
- Continuous Improvement Card
What should you call it? I’m not sure it really matters, as long as you choose language that engages your people and resonates with them.
Within this __________ Card structure, what do you call the first field on the card?
I think it’s important to not just collect ideas or suggestions. That’s too much a classic suggestion box that never works (for a number of reasons). Those suggestion box slips usually just ask for a suggestion. That’s jumping to a solution, a bad habit that Lean thinkers try to avoid.
What do we call those ideas on the card in that second space?
- Proposed Change
Before we list an idea or whatever we call it, it’s important to ask “What problem are we trying to solve?”
Where a suggestion box system focused on saying yes or no to ideas, the focus in Kaizen is on making things better, if not solving the problem altogether. If we have to say no to an idea, it’s the obligation of leaders to help employees come up with other ideas to test.
Although Toyota famously says “No problem is a problem,” some people (not me) have a problem with the word problem.
So what do you call that first field on the card?
- Current State
Which label is best? The label the works? The card that works? The Kaizen system that works?
What do you think?