How do you motivate employees to improve business processes?

Place them in the role of a detective and let them detect and deal with inefficient cases …

Yearly, companies and institutions lose hundreds and thousands of euros due to inefficient processes. There are a lot of improvement processes designed to track those inefficiencies, but in real life, those processes do not prove themselves effective. Why is that? Because they are boring, tedious and inspire little motivation. Lean Scene Investigation (LSI) approaches this issue a bit differently. Employees are put in the role of a detective and the inefficient policies are the ‘criminals’. The detectives catch the criminals red-handed, take their picture and tackle them firmly.

Research on a global scale shows that only a small 13% of the employees actually feels involved with their job. This is the 13% that help the company grow, the other 87% is ‘sleepwalking’ through the day or executes his job in such a way that it’s not productive for the company or institution.


Four percent of the business problems is known amongst senior management

You could state that the management of a company should be aware of this issue. According to consultant Lammert van der Wal, this usually isn’t the case. “Research shows that a mere 4% of the corporal issues are known amongst senior management. In middle management this percentage is a bit higher, around 9%. Luckily, there are two groups within the organization who do know where the issues lie: supervisors and the employees. 74% of the inefficient matters are known amongst the supervisors while the employees are familiar with the full 100% of flawed processes.

The Lean Six Sigma methodology

UMCG was interested in introducing improvement processes. Lammert: “I met Roelof Kammenga, program manager ICT at UMCG, in 2014. He designed an interactive concept to improve corporate processes on the working floor, where the employees exactly know where the problems are. His concept was based on Lean Six Sigma. This is a globally applied methodology which increases trading profit in a durable manner. Lean Six Sigma places focus upon what the customer really wants.”


From methodology to game

Roelof explained the concept using playing cards. Lammert: “I’m an enthusiastic gamer in my free time and in my opinion Roelof’s concept could be more effective in the form of a serious game. We decided to start looking for a party capable of helping us. The UMCG had collaborated with Grendel Games before and after we met each other we decided to start working together.

Lean Scene Investigation impression

The story of Lean Scene Investigation

Using the Lean Six Sigma methodology, you start looking for facts. This methodology is the same in Lean Scene Investigation. The employees of an organization fulfill the role of a detective. They conduct research by playing games and using the LSI-app, meanwhile they’re being guided by a LSI-consultant. At the start of the game, the organization chooses a process that needs improvement. There are seven forms of inefficiency, all translated to their own character. For instance, Pablo ‘The Mover’, excessively moves people and objects around and Malcom ‘Double’ executes unnecessary checks.

The employees take their LSI–app and start looking for crimes (which are the practical examples of inefficiency). They take pictures of it and provide it with a short description of the committed crime. After the ‘declaration period’ has passed, the employees vote for each others declarations. Based on the voting, the employees choose the heaviest cases with the biggest potential for improvement. Through playing various types of games, the employees will find solutions which they can implement.


Results Lean Scene Investigation

By now, Lean Scene Investigation has been tested at various organizations and Lammert can support the effectiveness of the game with numbers. “Here at the UMCG, we have eliminated 15.000 patient-unfriendly moves a year, from one department. At a customer service center from another organization we have tackled the efflux of employees, saving them €250.000,- worth of training budget. As an additional benefit, thanks to LSI, employee satisfaction rose as employees felt like they are being heard and facilitated.”

More about Lean Scene Investigation at

percent of the employees, globally, doesn't contribute to the organization in an efficient manner.
euros is the amount a customer service center saves on training budget each year, thanks to LSI.
patient–unfriendly moves are eliminated each year in the UMCG.

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