Louisiana’s Online Suggestion Box Will Fail; Connecticut Lean Efforts Might Not


I'm a critic of traditional suggestion boxes since they are usually garbage cans for ideas. Boxes collect anonymous complaints (not good), and managers often ignore what's in the box (not good either).

I thought I had heard it all about bad suggestion box practices, but here's a new one. As described here, Louisiana State Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, has set up an online email suggestion box for state employees. OK, I would be skeptical of that already.

The ridiculous rule in this system?

Workers will not be allowed to send suggestions to the email while they are on the clock.”

What the what?

You WANT employees to use work time to come up with ideas that save your organization money. Toyota even pays OVERTIME for team members to do this. That's why Toyota is successful with “Kaizen,” and Louisiana will probably fail.

On a brighter note, Connecticut Governor Daniel P. Malloy is directing all state agencies to use Lean.

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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. I submitted an email to that suggestion box asking if the news story was wrong… I hope the idea that workers could NOT use work time is a misquote or bad reporting, as it’s a ridiculous policy.

    • No, other news sources say the same idiotic thing:

      “The statement advises that state workers must offer their suggestions on their own time and with their own computers, not during their work hours.”


  2. Mark,

    The governor of Wisconsin signed a similar bill last year stating every state agency by law has to implement lean.



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