This is a story of how the collaborative efforts can bring innovative, creative solutions harnessing the power of diverse thinking & experiences. It’s clear in recent past that for organizations to become successful, creative endeavors are the foundation. In that quest, organizations have recognized and have already put in efforts to cultivate collaborative environments which facilitate such creative thinking. This story provides a very apt example.

There was a Japanese soap maker. Soaps that were manufactured by them used to get packed through an assembly line. Over a period, the organizations started receiving the complaints that there were many empty packets found without the soap inside. Company officials inspected at various places and checked the entire supply chain mechanism to find the root cause. Ultimately, they concluded that there seems to be some issue with the assembly line where many packs were getting passed through the conveyor belt even before the assembly can insert the soap cake inside.

The company called experts to identify and repair the exact fault. They tried in vain to find the exact fault. Many attempts to repair the machines by the experts to get rid of the issue were proven futile.

The company asked a few experienced operation managers about what can be done. Based on one suggestion, they installed x-ray machines at the end of the assembly to check every packet passing out of the conveyer belt to check and remove empty packs. That would reduce the problem but there were still many empty packs getting delivered to their customers.

Many days, considerable expenses and many attempts later, the company officials decided to include everyone in the company to find out any solution. They posed this problem to all employees and asked for suggestions to get rid of the issue. And that’s where they got it right. One worker at every lower end of hierarchy suggested a very simple solution. The solution was to install fans at the end of the assembly line. The wind generated by the fans started throwing the empty packs away due to the lesser weight. Only the packs of soap inside were now getting passed through the assembly line for further packaging and delivery. The company could ultimately get rid of the problem by implementing a rather simple, cost-effective solution, thought of by someone who would generally be out of the focus to deal with the problem.

By harnessing diverse experiences and viewpoints, the probability of finding creative and effective solutions for complicated problems increases multiple. Group creativity & collaborative techniques provide an appropriate environment to harness the power of diverse thinking, to bring about effective change. After all, quite often the seemingly complex problems have very simple solutions if we can find those.