Whether it be in the office, a meeting room, or any central location for the team, these are the first places that often come to mind when thinking of process innovation. However, continuous improvement is a universal tool that extends beyond the realm of the traditional workplace. Katharine, a Peak Academy-trained Black Belt, realized that one easy place where she could innovate to great effect was home sweet home.

Why Innovate at home?

What got Katharine thinking about innovating at home was an impending opportunity to work from home. 

Working from home can be both a gift and a curse, as the pleasant distractions and sometimes “cramped and chaotic” nature of home often clashes with the conditions necessary for a productive work environment. Innovating on your home workspace is one way to make working from home more enjoyable and efficient.

Where do I even start?

When Katharine began her at-home innovation, she quickly realized that her current home office set-up was constrained, noting that “there’s limited wall space and limited surface area.” Along with that observation, she also observed that her workspace was used for several different projects including: work, school, family finances and a political campaign.

Katharine’s original home workspace

The Brainstorming Process

When beginning her brainstorming process, Katharine focused on two things: 1.) Arranging her workspace in a way that would make the most out of her limited space. And 2.) Organizing her workspace to better track items needed for her various tasks.Based on these goals, Katherine created an action plan keeping track of each task she had to do and when it would be completed.

A Renewed Home Workspace

To accomplish her goal, Katharine made use of two very powerful, but simple tools:

6-S: One of the biggest reasons innovating at home can be so successful is that you have so much freedom to change where things are and how they are utilized. Katharine was able to move her workspace around so that everything she needs is more accessible.

Visual Management: Another key way that you can keep yourself on track when working from home is through creating clear, easily visible production boards. Katharine used different signs on her desk to point out documents that need reading and documents that she has in progress.

She also established a color-coding system to help keep track of various documents and cut down on time spent looking through papers.

Color coding is a great way to sort important documents!

She also saw an opportunity to transform her refrigerator into a production board that tracks what she’s got to work on, what’s in progress, and what’s been completed. Innovation really can happen in unexpected places!

The tools taught in Black Belt are so powerful because they are not limited to what you do in the office or out on the field. Opportunities to innovate are everywhere. Katharine used her newfound tools to make working from home a more efficient and stress-free environment.

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