Posts from the ‘Extended Design Thinking’ Category

Revisiting Pareto Charts – Process Improvement & Low Hanging Fruit – Instant Gratification

ASQ is a great place to browse and learn. The link above is a concise write up of the power of a Pareto Chart and how the same can be generated in Excel. You could do it with Minitab as well.

My first brush with a Pareto chart was in 2001

My assignment for the week was to increase the yield of a packaging line with a major manufacturer of diabetes bio-sensors.

I walked the line, talked to the operators and talked to one of the engineers

Here is the low down

  • The operators maintained a very clear record of the down time and frequency
  • The data was collected and stored in a database
Went and met the keeper of the database
He was thrilled and mentioned that he was waiting for the day when some one would come in and ask him for the data.
Got the data plugged it into Excel and created a Pareto Chart.
Passed it around the weekly meeting with a smug look
Here are the top hitters
  • Meetings
  • Repairs to literature folder
  • Have communication on the line and reduce wasteful meetings
  • Bring in the literature folder company rep and recondition the system
ROI or is it Return On No Investment?
  • Increase in yield from 75% to 95%
Is that instant gratification or what?
Well since then I have used the Pareto Chart any number of times with success and little effort
Who needs training courses?
Is that LEAN manufacturing or what?

Virtual Worlds – Applications for automated manufacturing lines – Making American Manufacturing Competitive Again

This article on the applications for virtual worlds in industry has been inspired by Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

You can view his articles at

The best way to understand it is to enjoy a visit to The Forbidden City by registering at the link given below, downloading the application and literally playing with it.

This is a user interactive virtual tour of the Forbidden City and an introduction to how we could set up a Virtual World Application

This technology would be a great tool to model an automated factory where we could

  • Build training applications to simulate the factory and its day to day operations.
  • Use to hire staff and conduct interviews in an interactive environment
  • Model the equipment with it and simulate the actual operation
  • Simulate faults and train personnel on trouble shooting
  • Use to monitor the running of the equipment
  • Use to predict malfunctioning as well as lead us to root cause
  • Run quality programs
  • Use Design for Six Sigma & Design Thinking methodologies

Obviously there is considerable amount of work in achieving this level of sophistication.

I believe CAD Tools like SolidWorks have already started in a small way towards this effort.

Again we are looking at some mind boggling applications we could dream up to make American manufacturing competitive again.

I would challenge readers to suggest application for this neat Virtual World modelling concept. We will continue to scour the globe for interesting applications.

Google Wave – A tool for Co-Creation & Project Collaboration

Well, I have been playing a little with Google Wave to look at its capabilities.

What is a wave? I am quoting directly from Google

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

For those who would like to check it here is the link.
You can apply for the Beta version and Google will send you one. It is free.
I also have a few invitations to send to those who are interested.

Lets say for example we have started work on a new Service Design Project or for that matter any project. Lets assume our project team consists of 5 collaborators.
We start a new wave and include all the players on the wave.
In simple words the wave is like one long tape which can be replayed at any time by any of the members to go over previous plans, designs, discussions, meetings, research material, pictures etc.

Ultimately when you make the proposal you have all required research material easily accessible. On completion of the project you have a trail for reference.

Wave allows us to have real time phone and video conference calls and we can be making notes in real time for all to see if required.

I believe Wave is a natural for Design thinkers as we can
“Start Anywhere”

I believe any project may have quite a number of face to face or on site meetings. But at some point it becomes impractical to keep travelling. This is where Wave will come in handy.

For those of you who already have Wave it is an excellent opportunity to play a Design Thinking Project or even use it on a real one.

Last but not least it can be customized.

And as usual in a system like this we may find neat things to do with Wave which the original builders may not even have dreamed of. One of the suggestions I gave to a business school professor was that his students could do a course on Design Thinking on Wave.

For that matter it could be the university of the future 🙂
Well that is a subject for another blog 🙂

Go ahead, Google Google Wave

Extended Design Thinking

Building a case for Extended Design Thinking. Clubbing Design Thinking, Six Sigma & Design for Six Sigma.
Start anywhere. Keep the model open, extensible and flexible.
Use best practices and tools.