“Win”-dow Washing: Standardized Work or Kaizen?


I try to keep things light here on Saturdays… one of my favorite sites is failblog.org and their related blogs. Although they normally document problems and bad designs and mishaps that would constitute a “FAIL,” they often have something that might be considered a “WIN,” such as this airport window washer in the video below.


As one of the YouTube commenters asked, “how else is he supposed to wash it?”

Good point. I'm curious if this is the standard practice (probably) or is it an example of “kaizen” from employee creativity.

Either way, have some fun watching the video and others over on FailBlog.

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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. Maybe I haven’t had my morning coffee, but I don’t get Simon’s joke.

    This seems pretty creative to me. I’m not sure why it makes the cut on failblog. The fail would be if this just isn’t safe, at least as you reach the end of the conveyor.

  2. Jamie: It’s a pun on lean. Maybe I should have phrased it as “What does he do to clean the outside? Answer: Lean.” In other words, he leans over the panel to reach the outside portion of the window. Which, in the spirit of a pun, is also a lean approach, by reducing waste (waste of motion?).

    Of course, if he has a big waist, then I guess that he can’t reduce that waste… :)

  3. The other side could be washed at the same time if he had two cleaning brushes joined together on the top so that he does not have to lean. :)

    I have a feeling this was kaizen done by the employee.



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