How can a new dishwasher, break down barriers to innovation in your organization?

In your team or company you might be frustrated about the way inefficient patterns seem to keep occurring. You try to explain, improve, nudge forward but no, all your efforts to bring about new, better ways of doing things keep being rejected and things go back to the bad normal.

Here’s what happened when we had to buy a new dishwasher at our my home that might be useful to you and your team to break those old bad patterns and bring about effortlessly new better ones.

You can imagine by looking at the image how easy and efficient it is to pick up all spoons, all knives etc in one swoop and put them all in their place, instead of trying to find all the forks spread around the surface in different parts of the cutlery drawer to then store them quickly.

I fought with my large-ish family for years trying to “educate” them to the effectiveness of dishwasher allocation [smiling] putting all spoons in one area, all forks in another etc. But despite some small successes from time to time, no way, they kept reverting to just throwing all the cutlery all over the dishwasher.

UNTIL, until the new dishwasher came, with its novelty cutlery tray in the image. All of a sudden every time, without fail, all the cutlery is now inserted by every member of our family into the “right” section of the dishwasher.

So what happened? What can you apply to your “old patterns-defaulting” team?

Instead of nudging improvements, change the entire “dishwasher”.
Bring your team into a disruptively new situation.
That way they will not have any old habits to cling to and will be forced (for everyone’s good) to embrace new better ways of doing things.

BUT CAREFUL: just a quick note to avoid you going and installing “new dishwashers” everywhere to try and make good change happen faster:
1. if you keep implementing new disruptive situations, your team will get tired, frustrated and disconcerted. So choose wisely how often you want to “install a new dishwasher”.
2. the new process should be simple to implement, have a low “how do I do this?” implementation friction.
3. the new process should also create fast rewards, for all and not just for one part of the company.
In my house everyone, takes turns to take out the dishwasher so everyone is affected positively by the “innovation” and this creates a good habit rewarding pattern.

So what’s the new “dishwasher” you will introduce into your organization to create the change you all need?

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