Here is the seventh in our 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 (and iOS) 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.
This video talks about what to do when you identify a problem (or an “opportunity for improvement”) and you don't have a solution (or what we tend to all a “countermeasure” in Lean). Long story short — it's OK if you don't know the answer. It's still great (and a necessary first step) to just identify the opportunity. Your co-workers might have an idea…
Video updated September, 2014 – View on YouTube.
Approximate transcript of the video:
- Video #7 – I don't know what the solution is, but submit an OI anyway
Hi, I'm Mark Graban, from KaiNexus, where we make improvement happen…
If you find yourself being frustrated at work, there's likely a process problem of some sorts behind it. If you can, try to think about what the cause of the frustration is – that's an opportunity for improvement.
Even if you have just identified a problem, and don't know how to solve it, that's a great thing to capture in KaiNexus.
Before KaiNexus you might have just said something about the problem to your manager while passing in the hallway… but keep in mind what one of our early KaiNexus users, a manager, once said that they don't claim to remember everything that's ever told to them verbally in the hallway, so they always remind people to enter it into the KaiNexus system.”
If you take a few seconds to log an OI in KaiNexus (in a computer's web browser or through our iPhone app), the system then automatically notifies your manager so they, or your colleagues, can work with you later on that OI. Using KaiNexus ensures that nothing falls through the cracks.
When you log in and click “Submit a new OI,” there are fields for a title and a brief description. That's all you have to enter. Notice that the “proposed solution” field says “optional.” You can be brief in your description of the OI, but add enough detail so it can be followed up on. As a famous engineer once said, “a problem well defined is half solved.”
Identifying an opportunity for improvement is a great first step. If you can identify and log problems, you are contributing to improvement. Keep in mind, though, that KaiNexus isn't a system for merely venting or complaining about other people.. it's about identifying legitimate opportunities for improvement that would benefit our patients, our colleagues, and our organization.