I’d Like to "5S" the Wimbledon TV Broadcast Screen


Hello from jolly old England. I'm in London for the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit being put on today by Daniel T. Jones of the Lean Enterprise Academy.

This post, strangely enough, has nothing to do with healthcare. But, I was thinking about England while watching the amazing Wimbledon final match between Federer and Roddick.

Watching the match on a widescreen HDTV, I got to wondering about the score box that's constantly on screen. For about 1/4 of the serves, part of the action was obscured by the score box.

Federer's serve, shown above, is coming right out of the score box.

But look at all of the wasted real estate to the side. Why not put the score box there? We can't say “it's always been there” since the score probably wasn't constantly on the screen until ten years ago or so? Tennis is not a sport that benefits from widescreen… you get more of the part of the stadium where the action doesn't normally occur. Tennis does benefit from HD… I guess it would be too disorienting to watch a tennis match that goes sideways? But the best seats at the stadium are center court… on the side.

My suggestion to NBC would be this — why not put the score box vertically off to the side? I would have the numbers right side up, of course.

Wouldn't this work better? How do I submit a suggestion to NBC? I wonder what their thought process is? I guess it's “value” to being able to see the score, but so is seeing the serve.

OK, maybe not the most profound Lean thoughts ever, but this seems so obvious (to move the score box), I wonder what I'm missing or not thinking of?

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. "not the most profound Lean thought ever,"

    But Mark, it is profound! Why? Because you are thinking about an improvement! Now, can we imagine if everyone was thinking about little improvements to move an organization towards a better tomorrow? This is a major element that is missing in lean organizations today: the humility that is required by our managers and leaders to embrace small, sometimes insignificant, improvements as a pathway to develop people.

    Nobody gets excited about batting practice, but everyone knows that it is vital to the success of a baseball team. We would be better if we think of these mediocre improvements as batting practice.

  2. Oh jeez, I used to LOVE batting practice. Loved to hit. I could have stayed in the cage for 30 – 40 cuts instead of the 10 we were usually allotted, but back to the task at hand…

    One suggestion might to be to move the scorebox way off to the upper right, which is also wasted space and would not obscure the action. With it posted vertically people won't like to read it – too engrained in the left to right reading paradigm.

  3. Moving the score off to the side would be fine for the 16:9 aspect ratio TV's, but for those who have 4:3 aspect ratio, this would be cut off.

    You see this in a lot of different sports on TV, and until everyone adopts the new 16:9 aspect ratio as standard, I think we are stuck with these types of problems.

  4. At the risk of being overly controversial on a Friday, we should NEVER be "stuck with these types of problems." That is exactly why GM is where they are.

    I battle that idealism daily in my facility, yet, if I push hard enough, we can ALWAYS find little improvements that may lead to a larger improvement in the proverbial "someday".

    Just food for thought…

  5. the only problem with your way is the viewer has to turn their heads to see the score.

    Instead i suggest break the score box into two section.

    One for roddick at upper left away from the main court.

    The other for federer at lower left again.. away from the main court.

    The main reason, people are watching to see the tennis match, not viewers not spectators. in that case spectators can be blocked out without harm.

  6. Raqsd – I said in the post I would have the numbers right side up, they would not have to turn their head to see the score.

    I think breaking the score up would be worse, since tennis scoring always requires you to see both numbers in comparison to each other.

    ESPN apparently tried a vertical scorebox that didn't go over well in 2004 (numbers too small?).


  7. That's certainly an embarrassing mistake on my part. I should have known better than that.

    Thanks for pointing out the error. Unforced error on my part.


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