The following team exercises highlight the values of collaboration, fun and learning for groups of all sizes and industries. Each exercise can be run on their own or as a series in a training program.
Each exercise includes kit materials that provide important context for the instructors and enhance the experience of all involved. Please contact us at 215-983-7653 if you have any questions.
W. Edwards Deming developed his classic Red Bead Experiment to demonstrate variation in processes. He demonstrated the ridiculousness of trying to manage out the “common cause” variation inherent in any process by showing that the number of Red Beads produced, representing process defects for a shift, was independent of any management exhortations or slogans.
Instead, the path to true process improvement lies in understanding and controlling the sources of variation.
The Red Bead Experiment kit is an affordable and interactive activity demonstrating common cause variation in processes.
- Requires no software or batteries to run
- Participants will understand first-hand the nature of variability and how to control it.
- Worksheets and data collection forms are a free download
- Analysis presentation from actual class results helps present concepts to the class
The companion workbook is available separately with proven exercises to maximize the learning from this kit.
For even more learning, the Blue Bead Experiment, available exclusively through CICS as a companion to the Red Bead Experiment, shows the effects on a process with reduced variability in performance, due to a reduced number of “defects” in the process as a result of CI activities.
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This team-oriented problem solving exercise is highly interactive and can be run in 30 minutes in relatively small spaces. Visuals required are a list of the 8 Wastes and a list of the 5 rules for the exercise/game.
A team starts off in a circle with a ball and the goal is for everyone to touch the ball once in order. Once the team masters the basic exercise, additional balls are added to the exercise. This way the instructor makes the point that solutions or countermeasures that worked when you had one ball don’t work as conditions change, like when the team uses 3 balls.
This exercise demonstrates teaming, problem solving, and logical thinking as participants are encouraged to think of solutions that don’t violate the rules of the game.
This exercise kit includes the exercise balls and a 5 page writeup on how to run the exercise and variations, depending on what learning points the instructor wants to emphasize with the group. By using a Socratic approach of guided inquiry, teams brainstorm answers immediately while in the exercise.
The learning cycles are short and immediate feedback on what works or what did not work in the exercise helps modify the exercise. One metric is quality, in terms of people must touch the ball in order without the ball hitting the floor. The other metric is time with a typical team of 12 starting at 30-40 seconds and ending up around 2 or 2.5 seconds to accomplish the same task.
The team learns to go back to customer specifications, rather than looking at the organization’s standard procedures, which were developed to meet specs, but may be tougher in its approach than the actual customer specification.