Talking Transport Wastes and the 10 year Old Consultant.
Yesterday I was sitting with my daughter in a coffee shop as we shuffled between school and one of her many extracurricular activities, she is 10 so there are a lot of activities as she tests out the various options for things to do, refines it, and then, hopefully finally settles on a few as she gets a little older to focus on. I explain it to friends as a 10 years olds agile approach to social life.
One of the things we do on these sessions is review the day that both of us have had which normally revolves around the standing joke of me asking what she did at school today and her reply of "Stuff", what kind of stuff I would reply, Stuff stuff and smart stuff is the reply and on we go unpacking the stuff. We then talk about my stuff and round it goes.
The Transport Waste
Some of my daughter's stuff was about having to move things around the school, again. They wanted to do some project and needs 'stuff' but it wasn't kept in her classroom, it's kept in a central point so they have to go and get it and bring it back to where they use it, then when they are finished they have to take it back to the central point. Her complaint was that they seem to be using this 'stuff' a lot and it was 5 minutes to the central holding point and 5 mins back, twice. So, this was stealing 20 minutes from her getting to do this obviously enjoyable stuff. ( I may have snuck in some math questions here about what the % of time used moving stuff around was as well…)
There is just too much wasted transport she said!.. she is 10 years old… At this point I felt a combination of immense pride and of a little concern, have I accidentally turned my 10 year old in to a lean geek, and if I have is that a bad thing?
So, I asked the obvious question, what would you do to fix this? Oh, that's easy she said, it's in the wrong place, it should be in our classroom. Ok so how many other people use it I asked, again she pondered, well it's really only stuff for the senior classes (years 5 & 6) so that's only 3 classrooms and none of them are close to where it's stored. Probably Mrs Taylor's class is the one in the middle and she's got a big cupboard it could go in so probably in there she said. Ok and how much closer is this to where it's getting used? Oh, we'd be able to get it in a minute and if it was raining then we also wouldn't get as wet either!
So today, armed with her thinking and a drawing she has done of her new cunning plan, she's off to school to pitch her idea to the teachers, her cunning approach is to ask them to try it for a few weeks to see if it's better, if it's not then they can move it back, if it is then obviously it stays, no risk, lots of reward.
Obviously, another option to the solution may well be buy more of the common resource if its affordable and makes sense, but for a 10 year olds thinking and a schools budget this is pretty good I think.
Think like a 10 year old
The conversation took 5 or 10 minutes over a hot chocolate she was drinking. I struck me, why can't we have similar 5- or 10-minute conversations in businesses about issues like this, here's the issue, here's the waste here is a possible solution we can test out, if the test is successful keep it, if it's not change it.
People seem to believe that this type of thinking and these conversations are hard, they aren't. If my 10-year-old daughter can do it then you can do it, if there is a gap it's a gap in setting up an environment to foster that conversation and to take the risk of trying something out.
So my challenge to you today is get out there and think like a 10 year old!
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