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


Oscar the Grouch - shoreditch

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 in terms of bad suggestion box practices, but here's a new one. As described here, Louisiana  State Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, has set up on 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 using 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, the Connecticut Governor Daniel P. Malloy is directing all state agencies to use Lean.


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. Mark Graban says

    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.

    1. Mark Graban says

      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 Graban says

    And here’s a heartwarming tale of the federal government implementing a whopping 0.7% of employee ideas through their online suggestion box:

    Washington Post Article

  3. Kelly says


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


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