Guest Post: Kaizen’s Test for the Best


Today's guest post is by Duke Rohe, a Quality Improvement Education Consultant  at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. I know Duke from his heavy involvement with the Society for Health Systems.  

dukeKaizen's Test for the Best

Idea + Implementation = Innovation

What: Kaizen is the Japanese term for incremental improvement proposal. It's a proposal that has sound merit, obvious benefit and fairly easy to install. It is the worker's contribution to changing the world around him. It benefits him, the customer, the company all at once. Kaizen is an idea with implementation thought, ready to apply and generalize for the workforce. To ‘develop' the kaizen, place it through this set of questions. The goal is to make it a ‘slam dunk' for implementation.

How:   Ask these questions to develop a business case to your idea.   The goal is to turn it into reality so do your best to make it a reality.

1. Can the idea be proto-typed to be tested so its benefit can be shown?   Maybe with all the features, but enough to ‘test-fly' it.

2. To give it organizational alignment – which of our core values (Caring, Integrity, Discovery) will it affect?

3. Can you guesstimate the time value of this improvement?

  • How will it have a positive impact?   Even if it is a quality kaizen, it prevents time loss in rework of error.   At least give it a try.
  • What is the rough estimated cost to implement?

4. What other processes does it impact?   Do they have to change?   How?

5. What type training, educational aid will need to be in place so its application is obvious or error-proof?

6. What will it take to sell its application?   If its benefit is not evident to all, can it be tested on a trial basis?

7.  What type of marketing would be necessary to sell it to the rest of the crew?

8. Don't be discouraged if a kaizen doesn't get accepted.   They all aren't winners.   Keep swinging.   You'll make a difference.

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Duke Rohe
Duke Rohe currently works at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as a Quality Improvement Education Specialist. Mr. Rohe graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. He is a Life Fellow member of the Healthcare Information Systems Society and has achieved its Quality Management Award, Outstanding Fellows Service Award, and Chapter Leadership Award. He authored two chapters in the Management Engineering guidebook, co-authored a book on Quality Tools, has co-authored four books on organizational change and is on his mother's top ten list.



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