THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND AND ROUND -FOR IDEAS!

by sunil gupta
3 188 5.0/5

Amar was driving Quality and Excellence in a manufacturing company in Pimpri-Chinchwad and was concerned that the number of ideas that were being generated were neither enough nor the  standard needed to make an incremental or fundamental difference.

Amar discussed this issue with a Qualitist.

Scene 1: Ground zero

Amar: The staff are not giving any ideas despite teaching them brainstorming

Qualitist: What have you done with those ideas?

Amar: We have a committee to evaluate them!

Qualitist:  Hmm. Why don't we train leadership teams on how to drive innovation and excellence first? How about starting with six thinking hats and lateral thinking as interventions.

Amar: Tell me more.

Amar started this intervention with the CEO and direct reports and got their commitment for cascading these innovation tools. He started with a tracker on people trained, challenges, ideas generated and implemented.

Scene 2- after 3 months

Amar: We now have leadership readiness and clear target areas, what should  we do now?

Qualitist: Let's have CFT / FAT- CATS and assign challenges to them BUT with targets and R & R process across the organization

Amar: Great! let me get HR buy-in first

The company trained over 1000 staff on the tools  and implemented CFT's to come up with ideas. Most teams set a quota of 1001 ideas on a single challenge statement and exceeded it!

Teams presentations had the CEO and the direct reportees as an audience and instant commendation certificates issued to all.

Scene 3- after 6 months

Amar: Lets have some tools for the shop floor

Qualitist: Try 40 principles of TRIZ

TRIZ tools were used at the plant level for technical contradictions and ideas generated.

Scene 4- after 9 months

Amar: We need more ideas from the shop floor. Suggestions systems are not working.

Qualitist: Why don't we train the blue collar workers on ideation?

Amar: But some don't understand English

Qualitist: Why don't we do it in Marathi?

Amar : We don't have time on the shop floor!

Qualitist: Hmm, why can't we find some other time?

And then the inventor in the qualitist appeared. The idea was to use the staff BUS  on its travel time of 45 minutes from Pune railway station to factory which was currently used  for gossip, company politics, nap or playing cards!

The BUS was proposed to be used for ideation in a  stress free environment !

Thinking pads were designed for use on the bus and a champion was assigned to each  bus especially on the inward journey. The champion would spell out the daily challenge  i.e "How to reduce machine wastage"  and the passengers in the bus who were all blue collar workers would pen down ideas. As the bus reached the main gate, the champion would collect the ideas!

They achieved the highest number of ideas using this innovation as nobody had thought of travel time in the staff bus as an opportunity to generate ideas!

This  unit of the MNC became a global centre of excellence and reliability.

Lessons Learned

1.Leadership commitment and buy in is essential in the journey to excellence.

2.Leadership behaviors can hinder of help the drive towards a quality and excellence culture .

3.People need immediate response to their ideas or suggestions- Progress principle

4.Find unconvential ways to train and educate like the BUS

4.A multitude of tools and processes are needed at all levels- Brainstorming is not enough

5.Many supportive elements are required to foster a culture of Quality and excellence

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17 July 2020 by Burny Johnson
Ideas occur unexpectedly most of the time.
It's about how to effectively capture and record it.

Above description is about innovatively finding time to capture it. Nice, Dr Sunil Gupta.
21 July 2020 by Madan Gopal
Awesome example Dr. Sunil - The longer it takes for the ideas to be evaluated and implemented - the ideas will start to disappear as the confidence erodes about acceptance of fresh ideas.
19 September 2020 by Shikha Gupta
nothing is impossible if you want a culture of excellence