Crazy Kitchen is a simple but very educational game (simulation). The game has been developed to introduce participants to the principles and tools that are characteristic of Lean IT in a playful and at the same time educational way. The Lean approach was originally developed by the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, but the philosophy has since been applied in many other sectors. Lean IT is based on the principle that the added value of a product or service can only be determined by the end-user. Maximizing the added value for the customer and minimizing waste within processes – that is what Lean essentially boils down to. In addition, Lean IT focuses on the continuous improvement of the processes that support both these objectives. Simply put, it is about creating added value with fewer resources. The application of Lean IT has far-reaching consequences.
The aim of this Lean IT game is to make participants aware of the power of Lean IT and the benefits of creating flow in work processes. Game participants and their team are responsible for a branch of the Crazy Kitchen restaurant. This branch is facing problems. The number of customers has declined in recent months. The owner of the restaurant has conducted an investigation into why this is. There appears to be customer dissatisfaction with the quality of the dishes, the presentation of the dishes, and the timing. It has often happened that groups were not served their food at the same time, while customers consider this important.
The challenge for the participants is to get the customer satisfied again and to make the process run as efficiently as possible. When improving the processes, use will be made of Lean elements such as creating Flow, reducing waste, and focusing on customer value. Crazy Kitchen is based on a combination of mutually reinforcing activities: practical assignments and theoretical reflection.
After each round, the participants consider how they can improve things. Then they pick up the role-play again and apply their improvements. The game tells a story to the participants, as it were. This story develops further during the game and as protagonists the participants can influence its course. Several rounds are played in which the participants not only experience – and store in their memory – what it is like to work in poor circumstances, but also have the opportunity to positively influence the outcome of the story. The energetic and dynamic restaurant kitchen is a chaotic and hectic environment.
During the game, the participants encounter situations that they also encounter in their daily work in IT such as; unclear procedures, lack of communication, unclear customer wishes, time pressure and waste. When participants evaluate these experiences, a link can be made to how this occurs in our daily work. Game supervisors then ensure that the experiences and learning points from the game add value to our work in IT. By making improvements in successive game rounds, the most optimal situation is eventually reached.
Various tools are provided during the game. By applying these tools, the participants experience how efficiency improves and stress decreases. The following improvement tools are used: Voice of the Customer, Value Stream Mapping and Problem Solving. The Lean dimensions ‘performance’ and ‘leadership’ are also discussed. By applying these tools, the participants experience how efficiency improves and stress decreases.
Participants want to exchange experiences and feel that they are not only learning concepts, but also how to apply these concepts and add them to their personal ‘toolbox’ for success. If the lessons are fun, the lesson material is better processed and remembered and participants have a unique experience. Quint has followed this approach from the very beginning.
In all our course materials, we incorporate realistic business scenarios, practical group assignments, challenging simulation games and interactive role plays. Crazy Kitchen allows participants to discover for themselves that processes can always be improved, even when they have been used for a long time and have been extensively documented. Through the experiences that participants gain during the game, Lean changes from an abstract concept into a practical and directly applicable approach.
Implementing Lean IT within organizations increases productivity and quality. Moreover, as efficiency and transparency increase, departments become more relevant to the business. A customer-centric culture is created in which the dialogue about performance is part of the daily routines, in which giving feedback is completely normal, in which results are highly visible, and in which the pursuit of improvement is only natural.