KaiNexus Education Video #4 – Working Toward “Yes” in Kaizen


Here is the fourth in a series of short, simple Kaizen education videos from KaiNexus, a software startup where I am on the management team.  We are embedding these videos into our web-based software, to provide short tips and hints for our users (see the whole series here). We're also making the videos available on  our YouTube Channel and our education videos playlist. Subscribe to our channel to be notified of each new one that's released.

Click here to see all of the videos through my blog or here to view them on the KaiNexus website. We also have an RSS feed and a podcast on the iTunes Store.

This video talks about the role of supervisors and leaders in a kaizen process. It's not their job to “approve or reject” ideas, but rather to work together, in a collaborative way, to find SOMETHING that can be implemented to address the problem or opportunity that has been identified.

Updated video September 2014 – View on YouTube

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Approximate Transcript of the video:

Video #4 – working towards implementation

Hi, I'm Greg Jacobson, from KaiNexus

One of the problems with a traditional suggestion box system is that ideas typically get accepted or rejected by managers or a committee who do so without talking to the person who submitted the idea. When an idea is turned down, this is, of course, very discouraging and people stop submitting ideas.

In a Kaizen-style continuous improvement system (on which KaiNexus is based) the role of the supervisor is to work with employee to communicate and collaborate — to implement your idea or to find something else that you CAN implement that addresses the opportunity for improvement that you identified.

For example – let's say a unit often has an empty blanket warmer. Somebody might submit an idea that says we should buy another warmer… but the supervisor knows we don't have the money or the space. Instead of saying no, the supervisor should talk with their employee… maybe they decide together a better idea is to refill the blanket warmer more frequently — they've collaborated to find something that addresses that workplace problem.

That's one reason why in KaiNexus the author of an opportunity for improvement (or OI) is continually in the loop and they can make comments on the OI while it is being worked on. They can also, of course, talk face to face with their supervisor and teammates.

A good benchmark for a Kaizen system is Toyota, where it's said 90% of employee ideas are implemented… it's not necessarily the original idea that's implemented, but SOMETHING that addresses it. We know of hospital departments that are coming close to that goal.

The next time you have an idea, log into KaiNexus and enter your opportunity for improvement. That's not the end of thinking about the improvement — it's just the beginning.

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