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CCM’S LEAN GAME AND VIDEO TOOLBOX
The Center for Comparative Medicine (CCM) at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has adapted a number of popular
games for its lean learning curriculum. CCM produces its own fun videos to share knowledge, as well. Below is a look inside
its game and video tool box, with a glimpse at how it teaches lean concepts and the learning goal of each.
1) Free Tom Brady: This communication exercise simulates the need for lean
tools and training to improve processes in the workplace. There are three rounds
of the exercise. Each round has three volunteers who are blindfolded and led
across a colored floor mat by team members using voice commands. A guard
stops the movement of the blindfolded persons if they break the rules of the mat.
The goal of the exercise is for the teams to figure out the rules of getting all
three of the blindfolded team members across the mat in the fastest time possi-
ble. Each round provides the team with additional tools and appropriate training
to increase their success. The team is given time to improve its approach with
strategy minutes prior to the start of each round. Typically, no team members
make it across the mat in the first round. However, by the final round, all three
team members cross the mat in less than ten seconds.
Learning goal: To promote team bonding over
continuous improvements made throughout
the exercise and a new understanding of the
importance of providing lean tools and training
2) Lean Pictionary: This game teaches and tests participants’ knowledge of
lean terms. From the old party classic, players must illustrate a lean term or
concept they choose from a deck of random lean terms. Their team must help
by naming the term correctly.
Learning goal: To test and refresh participants’
lean knowledge, and serve as a subliminal
training tool cloaked in fun.
3) Lean-Up: Based on the Ellen DeGeneres game, “Heads Up,” participants
hold a card with a lean term on their forehead and listen for clues from their
team to figure out what is on the card. Each round is a minute in length.
Learning goal: To connect lean terminology to
everyday things and metaphors.
4) Snake Bite Kit: Developed at CCM for Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo, this
activity has evolved into a team training exercise that illustrates the pitfalls of
workplace disorganization, silo thinking and the convergence of error when
trying to save a snakebite victim from certain death.
Learning goal: To provide employees with
an intense demonstration of how team-based
continuous improvements ensure personal
success and how processes can be simplified
by using different stakeholder lenses.
5) Choose Your Adventure: Helps teams appreciate the power that following stan-
dard work and visual controls has on the success of their daily work. Modeled after
the popular children’s book, “Choose Your Own Adventure,” the activity provides
each team with a 10-page book filled with lean choices. Make the right choice,
and you advance to a new adventure. Make the wrong choice and it could result in
a heated encounter with a customer. A second wrong choice leads the team to a
dead end, where they don’t get a treasure chest of candy to share with the team.
Learning goal: To allow employees to
experience the effects of “work-arounds”
on the outcome of their daily work and the
potential effects on their downstream
6) PDCA Video to the YMCA Song: The learner must endure a video devel-
oped by CCM’s Continuous Improvement Steering Committee (CISC) that
features the benefits of PDCA set to the YMCA song by The Village People.
Learning goal: To embed, through repetition, the
importance of PDCA. This catchy tune becomes
an earworm, causing most people to reluctantly
sing PDCA instead of saying the letters.
7) Andon Video: Set to the tune of the 1965 Supremes’ classic “Stop in the
Name of Love,” the CISC version expounds on the benefits of “pulling the
cord” for the sake of your team whenever you see something wrong.
Learning goal: To help employees find waste
and generate ideas in a fun and easy way. All you
have to do is “see something, say something.”
8) Brick Game: Teams pass around a red brick and give it a name. They are then
challenged to submit two innovative ideas for how they would use/optimize the
brick. They then pass their idea cards to the person next to them and share their
ideas aloud. Common themes emerge and some are unexpectedly innovative.
Learning goal: To eliminate the misconception
that problems must be huge or that ideas are
silly or difficult to generate.
Do your homework
In exploring nontraditional, collaborative
and cooperative learning methods for
millennials, CCM and the committee
conducted extensive research. That
research showed that students will retain
more content if brief activities are
integrated into the material, similar to
Training Within Industry (TWI).
Additionally, CCM explored the
experiments-based results of the
concept of contrafreeloading, which
exposes the benefits of how
integrating a “challenge” can advance
experimentation and learning. There is
also research currently being conducted
at the National Institute for Play that
supports the effectiveness of games
and feedback on learning.
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