Playtime on the work floor: what Lego pieces teach us about data filtering

Playtime on the work floor: what Lego pieces teach us about data filtering

A few weeks ago, we cleaned the house and decided to sell our Lego collection. As I waited for the buyer to drop by, my thoughts drifted. I remembered how all those colorful pieces were once scattered around the house. After nearly tripping over them about a dozen times, I helped organize and make sense of them. Fast forward a few hours, and magical constructions had arisen — fire departments, pirate ships, steam trains, little houses.

Now that I recalled those good old days, I realized something: in essence, a heap of Lego pieces is no different than an ocean of raw data waiting to be filtered. And there’s a valuable Visual Management lesson to be learned there.

Creating order from chaos: the power of filtering

When you empty a bag or box of Lego pieces on the floor, you’ll quickly find yourself staring helplessly at a jumble of shapes and colors. Kids get confused and adults feel iffy. For what on earth are you going to do with all those interlocking plastic building blocks?

Usually, you want to use them to build some sort of construction. If you succeed, it’s something you can interpret at first glance — for example, a red ship or a green house. So, your first step is to sort your pieces of Lego according to shape and color. Once you’ve done that, it’s easier to distinguish which building blocks you truly need to create whatever you have in mind. You never require all of them for a single purpose. And some might be multifunctional — for example, one block can be used to build a castle, a train, and a tower.

See where I’m going with this? You guessed it: pieces of Lego are like dark data that should be turned into actionable insights. When adopting a Visual Management solution, you have to devise an information sharing strategy. It might be tempting to share all the data you can collect. But if you inundate employees with information, they won’t be able to make sense of it. You need to organize data and present it in an orderly manner, so every employee can instantly access and distill the information they need. Only then, they’ll be able to make independent, on-the-spot decisions that benefit your organization as a whole.

Sharing countless stories with the same building blocks

Basically, Lego pieces help you tell a myriad of stories using the same building blocks in different ways. It’s just paramount that you organize, filter, and present them in the right way. That way, employees always have actionable data at their fingertips, which helps them make well-considered choices in real time — all the time!

Want to explore your Visual Management opportunities? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to perform a Quick Scan and discuss your information sharing strategy.

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