Problem Solving 101

Dan Roam of "The Back of the Napkin Blog" discusses a new book on his blog called Problem Solving 101 by Ken Watanabe.  The book was originally written in Japanese, but after great success in Japan there is now an English version selling in the US.  Here’s a brief snippet from the book’s web site:

Problem Solving 101 started out as a simple guide to teach Japanese schoolchildren critical thinking skills. But it quickly became an adult bestseller, thanks to the powerful effectiveness of Ken Watanabe’s problem solving methods.

I have not read the book yet, but the web site provides some sample videos on basic problem solving techniques which could be applied not only by the Japanese schoolchildren, but certainly any organization looking to improve/establish/teach methods to improve their operations.

All of this reminds me of one of my favorite Saturday Night Live segments from Weekend Update, which featured "financial expert" Oscar Rogers and his analysis on how to correct the economic crisis.  While his process is humorous given the enormity of the problem, there certainly is validity to his process.  Here’s what he had to say, followed by the clip from Hulu.  Enjoy!

"Take it one step at time.  Identify the problem.  FIX IT!  Identify another problem.  FIX IT!  Repeat as necessary until it’s all FIXED!" -Oscar Rogers

By |2009-03-11T08:47:09+00:00March 11th, 2009|Books, Business, Fun, People|0 Comments

Lean operations is like wingsuit base jumping

What?!  Yeah, okay, maybe it’s a stretch.  But bear with me.  Maybe I was desperately searching for a way to include this cool video, but if nothing else, you’ll get to see a really cool video.

wingsuit base jumping from Ali on Vimeo.

In lean manufacturing, people talk about "lowering the water level" by minimizing inventory.  This exposes the "rocks" of waste that exist on the shop floor.  You know who they are.  There are seven, right?  Oh wait, is it eight now?  Is it TOM D WIP or WORM PITT, TIMWOOD, or DOTWIMP?  I think And when your ship "S.S. Operations" starts encountering those rocks, it hurts!

But it’s all about risk/reward.  So you lower your inventory levels.  It may feel like greater risk because you’ll expose quality problems, excessive transportation, rework labor.  But the rewards can be so much greater.  Increase profitability.  Increase customer satisfaction.  Take market share.

The wingsuit base jumpers could ride safely away from the shear cliffs.  But where’s the reward in that?  They have chosen to decrease the space between them and problems, and have increased the reward of having a significantly better experience.

Not the best analogy?  Okay.  Whatever.  Enjoy the video.

By |2009-01-22T11:50:32+00:00January 22nd, 2009|Fun, Manufacturing|0 Comments

Stop and smell the roses

Would you stop to listen to a musician who commands $1,000 per minute?  Really?  For the answer on how over 1,000 other people responded read this absolutely fascinating article.  Pretty interesting snapshot of our culture, our busy-ness, our priorities, and our appreciation for beauty.  Allow yourself some time…the article is not brief.

The article also references Koyaanisqatsi (Life Out of Balance), a movie which I was just thinking about the other day.  I had seen it in college, so I Googled it and lo and behold it’s available online for viewing.  Check that out here.

Also, my good friend Patrick posted this (below) recently that’s definitely worth seven minutes of your day.

By |2008-05-23T13:34:28+00:00May 23rd, 2008|Culture, Fun, Life, People|0 Comments
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