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Beyond the Suggestion Box

Watch the rest of the KaiNexus Education Video series.



Video Transcript:

Hi, I'm Mark Graban from KaiNexus, where we make improvement happen.

When we talk to organizations about the idea of continuous improvement, people often mention the suggestion box. They often talk about how their suggestion box, while well intended, never really worked - or it certainly didn’t live up to its potential. In this video, I’m going to talk about what often goes wrong with suggestion boxes, and how the modern improvement principles built into KaiNexus are different.

The first issue is that suggestion boxes often lead to a slow response - or none at all - to the person who submitted the suggestion. The process of submitting the suggestion often means that the staff member gives up ownership of their idea, and the idea is often lost, never to be heard from again. As a front line employee once told me, “That box is where good ideas go to die.” Suggestion boxes are almost always a slow process with a monthly, or sometimes quarterly, review done by a group of managers or some far off committee. With idea being hidden in a locked, opaque box with slow, infrequent reviews, it’s understandable that employees get frustrated by the slow response to their ideas. The suggestion review committees often just vote yes or no to suggestions without ever talking to the person who submitted the idea, and without ever going to the place where the problem or opportunity exists. When people have ideas, we need to work with them to make them happen, or at least give people the feedback they deserve. So many organizations have tried the slow, non-transparent, non-collaborative process of the suggestion box, and we can do better than that.

That’s where KaiNexus comes in. Our system is built upon these modern, proven continuous improvement concepts and management mindsets (including kaizen, as we talk about in our other videos).

The first modern continuous improvement concept is the idea that employees deserve a fast, collaborative response to all of the opportunities for improvement that they’ve identified. KaiNexus facilitates a transparent, open process, where each employees’ supervisors and coworkers can see these ideas and participate in their implementation. In an effective improvement system, employees that have ideas should find their idea responded to within just a day or two to start that improvement process. KaiNexus prompts people to do so through their individualized dashboard screen and a daily email digest. Instead of having a high number of suggestions summarily rejected, KaiNexus customers are able to work to find something that can be implemented up to 90 percent of the time.

Doing improvement work this way builds enthusiasm for more improvement, and unlike the humble suggestion box, KaiNexus prompts users to evaluate the impact of their opportunities for improvement to help generate reports that measure the impact of their important improvements. It becomes infectious, in a good way. Our experience shows that modern improvement principles and methods can help us all get beyond the dysfunctional suggestion box. We hope you’ll join us in this important improvement effort.

Watch more videos from the KaiNexus Education Video series.


Additional Resources:

Blog Post: 5 Things to Look For When Evaluating Improvement Software
Blog Post: Software Solutions To Continuous Improvement Fix Communication Issues
Blog Post: The Suggestion Box - Where Great Ideas Go To Die
Blog Post: Why Suggestion Boxes Fail

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