Michael Schrage’s Harvard Business Review blog explains the Japanese design insight called poka-yoke – Japanese for “avoid mistakes.” The idea is to design the “simplest, cheapest, and surest way to eliminate foreseeable process errors.” One example he gives is where an assembler uses three screws, so the screws are packaged in groups of three: the package is a poka-yoke device.
My son’s high school biology teacher tries to use poka-yoke with her students by having all the homework on one color of paper, test prep on another, and so on. Can’t say it always works, but you can’t blame that on the device!
Along with being a nifty name, this made me wonder what poka-yoke are in use and might be designed for court ADR and for mediation in general. (more…)