Throwback Thursday: The Suggestion Box is Dead, with a New Obituary


As a Throwback Thursday, I'm sharing this webinar that I did back in 2012, as hosted by Karen Martin:

On this theme of “The Suggestion Box is Dead,” I thought to prompt ChatGPT to create an image of a burial scene and mournful employees:

That got me thinking even more… I also worked with ChatGPT to write an obituary, which I've tweaked and edited.

Suggestion Box (1910s-2012)

It is with a mix of mild amusement and a touch of sentimentality that we announce the passing of the Suggestion Box, who departed this world in 2012. Born in the 1910s, the Suggestion Box led a long, often ignored life, marked by neglect and unfulfilled potential. Truth be told, Box faced a number of chronic conditions over its entire life, never quite living up to the hype and potential.

From its early days, the Suggestion Box found a cozy spot in break rooms, hallways, and lobbies across the world. Despite its sometimes cheerful exterior, the Suggestion Box often found itself filled with crumpled notes, passive-aggressive comments, and the occasional gum wrapper.

Despite its optimistic exterior, the Suggestion Box knew deep down that many of its contents would never see the light of day.

In its twilight years, the Suggestion Box faced fierce competition from its flashy cousins, the Kaizen Board and the high-tech KaiNexus Continuous Improvement (C.I.) platform. These younger, more energetic relatives promised real collaboration, transparency, and immediate feedback–concepts that the Suggestion Box could only dream of during its many lonely hours.

The Suggestion Box leaves behind a legacy of well-intentioned, if largely ignored, contributions. It is survived by a ragtag group of office supplies, including the trusty stapler, the sticky note that never sticks, and the whiteboard with the permanent marker stain. Its demise marks the end of an era of anonymous submissions and the dawn of a more engaging, interactive approach to workplace improvement.

A small, informal memorial service will be held near the recycling bin. In lieu of flowers, employees are encouraged to participate in their nearest Kaizen event or submit their ideas directly to their managers for immediate feedback.

Rest in peace, dear Suggestion Box. May your once-locked lid find eternal freedom, and may your forgotten contents finally get the attention they deserve.

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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.


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