Monday, September 10, 2012

Lean Brain Boosters - Making the Invisible, Visible

By Pascal Dennis

Two years ago my colleague, Al Norval, and I were wresting with a tough question.

How do you make Lean principles visible?

Lean thinking, tools & leadership are often paradoxical & counter-intuitive.

Moreover, often they contravene accepted 'wisdom', at least as defined in our business & professional schools.

I've always loved doodling and my recently-published book The Remedy -- Bringing Lean Out of the Factory, which was full of them.

We had a brainwave.

Why not create doodles that expressed Lean fundamentals in a light-hearted, engaging way?

We started with a suite of 12 entitled Brain Boosters - Lean Thinking.

Ya'll seemed to like them, so we followed up with two more suites: Lean Tools and Lean Leadership.

We've been gratified by the response & believe Brain Boosters are a fine addition to the Kaizen toolkit.

Here's how people have been using them:

  • Mental Models Self-Assessment
    • For each card, have team members individually score the organization 
      • 10 = Lean Thinking; 0 = Conventional Thinking
    • Plot the results. What do they tell you?
    • Pick a few “hot spots” & make an improvement plan
    • Reassess again at year-end
  • Theme of the Day
    • At team huddles, give a card to a team member.
    • Ask her to find examples of both Lean & Conventional Thinking & report back at shift-end. Any learning points?
    • Rotate on a set cadence so everybody gets a chance
  • Lean Training, Kaizen Workshops, Gemba Walks
    • Pass out Brain Boosters at training & kaizen sessions.
    • Carry them during gemba walks & use to reinforce the basics

From time to time people email us with other innovative uses.

(One company obtained the rights to the images & has turned them into posters, T-shirts, mouse pads and other training aids!)

We'd love to hear more of your stories.

Thanks, as always,


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