Monday, February 27, 2012

Little by little improving singing talent...

I have featured my children's improvement ideas in previous posts and here's one where my son organized his choir practice schedule to reduce search waste and make his schedule visible:

Make schedule visible

Jacob in now a freshman in college was a finalist in Residence Hall Got Talent over the weekend. Here's how years of continually improving his voice has paid off (His part starts at 1:10 into the video). His selection was "Home" from The Wiz musical and we are very proud of him!

What has your family improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fun videos that illustrate continuous improvement

Guinness (this blog post is not an endorsement of their product) has a few commercials that beautifully illustrate kaizen thinking in a humorous way. Here's a few to enjoy...

What games have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Imagineering fruit

Small Japanese grocery stores had a problem. Watermelons are large and bulky and take up too much room. Many producers gave up this market while other farmers responded differently. Rethinking the problem, farmers found growing watermelons in a square box created a stackable fruit. Customers loved this innovation since it fit well in small refrigerators. Here's a Japanese video (you will get the idea without subtitles) that illustrates this innovation.

How many problems could we solve at work and at home if we used a little imagination and improvement thinking?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Little by little - Biblical kaizen

The practice of kaizen or continuous improvement has very ancient roots. In the Bible, there are several examples of this type of technique. Exodus 23:27-30 illustrates this very well:

“I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land."

God states why He will use small continual change over large revolutionary changes:

1) Too much change too fast has adverse effects
2) Change should be paced so that you can grow sustainably and not be overwhelmed
3) Time is a necessary component of successful transition

A friend of mine in Weight Watchers says that many diets fail because the change happens too fast and the dieter doesn't accomplish the needed character changes to keep off the pounds. Indeed, this passage sheds light on the reasons for small but steady change. Skip the "shock and awe" change and go with the small and steady approach instead.

What have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wiining three contests, two IPads, one method

And the Winner of the PlusIs Twitter Contest is…
By DHurwitz on Fri January 20, 2012 8:00 AM

After an entertaining couple of months, we are pleased to announce the winners of Serena Software’s latest Twitter contest. The PlusIs contest generated hundreds of creative “Plusisms” from a variety of submitters. It was a difficult decision to narrow down to the category and Grand Prize winners.  However, it was an enjoyable exercise, especially because the Grand Prize winner receives an iPad 2 and a $500 donation towards the charity of his choice, while the category winners receive $50 gift cards and $250 donations to their favorite charities. 
Donating $1,000 to charity is always gratifying! 
The Twitter-based contest called for contestants to submit Plusisms for three categories: Technology, Holiday and General. Inspired by Serena’s very own Plusism of “People + Process = Business In Sync,” we saw a little bit of everything from the hilarious to the bizarre. 

This is the third tweeting contest I have won in the last 4 months using kaizen thinking. The little by little method of continually improving can be used in any endeavour...I still talk to people that tell me kaizen won't work for them because (enter reason here). I' still trying to figure out what to do with the 2nd IPad. That's a good problem to have...

Grand Prize (iPad 2) and $500 to Charity of Choice
Technology Category:
Poor Release Management + Frazzled Service Desk = Pain Management @Serena_Software #PlusIs
Runner-ups and Winners of the Cash Prizes and $250 Donations to Charity of Choice
Holiday Category:
NBA + Lockout = 7 Christmas Day Knockouts YEA! @Serena_Software #plusis
General Category:
Creative Tweets + @Serena_Software = A Win Win Situation for my Favorite Charity & me! #PlusIs
Winners were selected based on creativity, humor and relevance and announced via Twitter on January 20th, 2012. Judges also verified that all submissions adhered to the published contest rules and guidelines. 
Thanks to the multitude of entrants and our judging panel for another great contest!
David Hurwitz is SVP of Worldwide Marketing at Serena Software.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bible studies, Genuis birds, and all things kaizen

A preacher told me once that it's a sin to make the Bible boring. I took this admonition to heart so I try to make my lessons fun, inspiring, and meaningful using the Scriptures. When I was studying the Bible with my son, I would find YT videos that helped illustrate verses and stories to help the Word come alive. My son and I studied the story of Elijah and the daily feeding by the ravens. It seems far fetched until we did research into these animals and were amazed at what we learned. As a interesting side note, we found this great video on how smart this aviaries are and watched it together. It helped build his faith and amplify the prophet's story.

What Bible story have you made exciting today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Prevent meeting waiting waste!

Here's a video from my workplace using continuous improvement at the job. This clever solution helps prevent wasted time in meetings from a screen and white board melee!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Krazy Koffee Kaizen

A few years ago, there was a great video demonstrating the seven wastes while making coffee. It was in another language that was maybe Danish or Icelandic and was taken down at some point. Here's my quick and easy kaizen on how to use the excess steam waste to get a really warm mug while the java is brewing. My tribute to the "Koffee Kaizen" vids of old.

What brew have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Worship service improvements

As lead usher at my church, we are alway looking for improvements for the worship to be better, more spiritual, and safe for all. Here's a few things that we did last week in our spiritual kaizen program that we call "little by little improvements":

1. Left side sanctuary Exit sign bulb replaced.
2. Two back row sanctuary lights replaced.
3. Slide clicker replacement reducing congregation wait time.
4. Ushers trained to hold communion trays with two hands to improve safety.
5. Remove items from aisle walkways to improve safety when passing trays.

Improvements we tried this service:

1. Texted teachers when sermon started and ended to give them an idea of service pacing and when to wrap us class before parents arrive. Positive feedback and will expand next Sunday.

2. Created “Lost and Found” detective bureau with younger teens and returned five misplaced items to their owners. I would like to work with a few kids every Sunday to re-position “Lost and Found” as a game and give young teens a chance to serve members by returning their stuff and play a game-this will reduce unclaimed inventory as well over time.

What worship service have you improved today?

Dan Lafever, Kaizeneer