And the Winner of the Pimp My Clipboard contest is....

Byron Bookhout of Michigan State!! Nice ride, Byron!

This bad boy is tricked out with quick clips with oversize handles, old-school chronograph and retro-ergonomic styling that will make all of the I.E.'s in your company green with envy!

Way to go, bro!

In all seriousness, ideas like this make the job easier, right? Even in a salaried, staff position, a person can come up with simple ideas to make their job more satisfying.

Source: Vaughan, L. and Hardin, L. 1951. Farm Work Simplification. John Wiley & Sons

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At March 18, 2008 at 1:26 PM , Blogger Islands Innovation said...

Its always amazing to me how far people went with Motion Study, Time Study, and Work Simplification.

Looking at the intricate setups the Gilbreth's used to film seemingly mundane jobs is downright inspiring. They labored over every detail because they had to. They built their lab next to the windows because the artificial lights of the day were poor. They inserted a "synchrochronograph" (sp?) next to every subject because they couldn't synchronize their hand-crank cameras enough to make accurate time measurements. The put "cross section" wall paper up behind every subject so they could measure motion distances. They reviewed every film frame-by-frame because they had no software to do it for them.

And they still had time to write it all down in over a dozen books and papers, even while raising 12 children!! Talk about Lean!!

Here's a link...check it out:

Fast forward to today, and it amazes me that, even though we can take video with the cell phone in our pockets, we usually don't go into anywhere as much detail as those folks did 100 years ago. So much opportunity...


At March 18, 2008 at 2:05 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

You are so right. I will post some more of this Farm Work Simplification as it reads like the Gilbreaths authored it themselves. Even in the 1950's the farmer's were familiar with the term "therbligs"!

At March 18, 2008 at 9:42 PM , Blogger Islands Innovation said...

Did this come from the Archives materials? I've seen pictures of similar clipboards, although not the 2-page type, in books before 1910. Taylor's "stopwatch men" made them famous.

I'd be surprised if the Gilbreth's used a board with a stop watch like this one. They tried to distance themselves from the stopwatch, and focus just on the motions, figuring the time savings would follow. However, there was certainly a time component in their films. They touted a brand of kinder gentler scientific management...and in doing so avoided much of the very bad press that Taylor stirred up.

However, they were not without their problems...Frank had a couple strikes to deal with, but nothing on the scale of the stopwatch men. Its too bad, because a lot of what they were doing was sound engineering work, and still very usable today.


At March 18, 2008 at 11:31 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Nope. It came out of the book, Farm Work Simplification. Jeff, this book has some great stuff from the late 40's and 50's and includes some research results from the UVM extension service! Vermont has seemingly always been on the cutting edge of lean! This book is short, reads easy and details such things as "instructing farm workers in improved methods" the first sort of discussion I have seen written where Job Instruction is directly cited as the way to instruct workers in improvements. Incidentally, Mellen and TWI, Inc. did much to combine this thinking (standardize, improve, standardize) into their problem solving manual which was exported to Japan in 1956. More to follow.

You are right, the Gilbreths did not rely on stopwatch, but they did have the chronograph in the foreground of their films. Make no mistake, Frank Gilbreth knew that time was money. He just knew that the person doing the job was the expert at making those improvements.

At March 20, 2008 at 11:59 AM , Blogger Islands Innovation said...

Yup...he also knew "focus on the process and the results will follow"...vs. Taylor's approach of "focus on the time and force the slackers to meet it". I know which one I'd want to work for...


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