Free Webinar August 21 – From Suggestion Boxes to Kaizen


Free Webinar on Tuesday, August 21, 2 pm ET

I will be giving a free webinar titled:

Healthcare Kaizen: The Suggestion Box is Dead

If you can't attend live, it will be recorded and available afterward.

Thanks to my friend  Karen Martin  (check out her new book The Outstanding Organization) for playing host.

I'll talk about the differences between the traditional suggestion box system (which is generally very ineffective) and a modern “kaizen” approach to continuous improvement.

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

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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. How about “in addition to” the suggestion box instead of as a replacement for. Many organizations have been very successful at managing suggestion systems. Likely ideal for different ideas than a kaizen blitz might be able to deal with (e.g., amount of time required to evaluate & implement solution).

    • Great question — this is where there is confusion in terminology in the Lean world.

      By “kaizen,” I mean continuous improvement that’s practiced daily, not events. I’m referring to methods like “quick and easy kaizen,” as taught by Norman Bodek, Masaaki Imai, and others.

      The word kaizen has been a bit co-opted to mean, to many people, “weeklong events.” I prefer the term “Rapid Improvement Event” for that. Others call it a “blitz,” like you say. An event is fine for certain big problems that require a team, but daily kaizen is often the small stuff (that’s “quick and easy” to implement). Not everything has to be a weeklong event.

      We can have (and need) both events AND daily continuous improvement.

      The question is does a “suggestion box” system work as well as a modern kaizen system that’s visual, transparent, fast, and collaborative?

      I’ve found organizations that are successful with suggestion systems don’t use a “box” — a box leads to an approach that’s slow, opaque, non-collaborative, and (often) anonymous.

      It doesn’t have to be that way, but that’s what I’ve seen 90% of the time with suggestion box systems in healthcare — they don’t work. That’s not the box’s fault… it’s how the system is managed.

      I hope you’ll tune into the webinar and let me know what you think.



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