Should manufacturing industry sponsor eSports to fight skills gap?

Should manufacturing industry sponsor eSports to fight skills gapThe manufacturing industry has a big problem. The youth of today see manufacturing as a dirty and uncomfortable work environment and would rather work somewhere else. The result is that too few young people choose to pursue careers in engineering, machining, or welding, and of the young people who have skills that are applicable to multiple industries, such as software designers, too few consider manufacturing industry as a primary career choice.

In his presentation at Manufacturing Performance Days in June this year, Professor Marco Taisch argued that the issue begins already from the way science is taught and appreciated in elementary school. If that is the case, then the needed changes are quite fundamental. However, problem-solving often consists of both short-term and long-term solutions, and in this post I am more concerned in more short-term solutions, namely, how to reach teenagers and college students and change their view of manufacturing. Can eSports offer a venue to changing their opinions?

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Manipulation of book review rankings at Amazon

Manipulation of book review rankings at AmazonReviews have been one of Amazon’s strengths and one of its problems for a long time. The issues around fake reviews are rather well known and covered extensively in traditional media as well (here is a New York Times piece on those issues and Amazon’s attempts to solve them).

However, there is also another, less thoroughly covered story of Amazon review manipulation: the helpful or non-helpful review vote. Anyone can vote for or against a review with the simple click of a button, and this affects how reviews are displayed on the page. This feature is nowadays extensively used for manipulation of review rankings on product pages.

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Bartle player types, Yee’s motivations, and self-determination theory

Bartle player types, Yee's motivations, and self-determination theoryThis post stems from two sources. On one hand, Daniel Pink’s Drive has brought variations of self-determination theory of motivation into the mainstream. On the other hand, everyone in the gamification scene is building varieties of Bartle player types to explain motivation. Can these two be brought together?

Actually, Andrzej Marczewski has already done something like that with his user types, but in this post I want to dig a bit deeper into the theoretical basis of doing so. We’ll get back to the user types later, but first we need to venture into Nick Yee’s well-known paper, Motivations of Play in MMORPGs: Results from a Factor Analytic Approach.

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Collaborative manufacturing: Lean and social business

Collaborative manufacturing: Lean and social businessAs social business matures, it is moving to new areas. People share ideas, and they also increasingly share products and services in what Jeremiah Owyang calls the collaborative economy. This sharing has mostly been consumer-centric (accommodation, cars, loans) with fairly few corporate sharing models (coworking is one). However, there is no reason why this model could not work in manufacturing as well, and as a matter of fact there are already some precursors from which a full-fledged collaborative manufacturing model can grow.

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Design for serendipity: coworking at

Design for serendipity: coworking at Seats2meet.comCoworking is a form of work where people share a working environment without being employed by the same company. The idea originated in the USA, where the first coworking locations were opened in 2005. The most common coworking operation model is a paid membership model with personal desks for members and a limited number of drop-in seats available on an hourly rate for other people. started in coworking in the Netherlands in 2007, and their model is somewhat different from the basic coworking model in ways that place a more significant emphasis on serendipity. The story of the company is detailed in Sebastian Olma’s book The Serendipity Machine, which is really content marketing for the company, but offers a number of great insights, so it is content marketing done right. In this post, I will examine the insights that can be extracted from the book from a Lean social business point of view.

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Is Lean for you?

Is Lean for you?Lean is much more than a toolkit, it is a philosophy. This fact is often repeated in many Lean books, but it is rare for those books to go deep into the value base of Lean, to reduce Lean to its bare core, and to build it back from there. Yet, that is exactly what I want to do now.

There is one rather simple question about values that is at the core of Lean. Your answer to this question determines for the most part whether Lean is for you or not.

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Children’s traffic parks through kaizen eyes

Children's traffic parks through Kaizen eyesA children’s traffic park is a park where children ride pedal-powered cars on roads and operate according to traffic laws. I have been to quite a few such parks, but it was my recent visit to one in Pori that really opened my eyes to the vices of batch production.

You see, I have hardly ever had to queue in a traffic park. However, in two attempts at Pori’s traffic park on different days, my children were unable to get a ride. On the first day, the queue was 2,5 hours, and on the second day, the queue was 1,5 hours. How on earth is this even possible?

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Lean thinkers are not on social media and at what cost

Lean thinkers are not on social media and at what costI like Lean. It is a great idea on how to get the whole enterprise on the same boat and working together in a systematic, near-scientific manner. However, at times I wonder whether Lean is keeping up with the times (which is why I am working on refining my ideas on Lean social business), and one worrying symptom is that Lean thinkers at large have not embraced social media. This is rather surprising for an ideology that encourages large-scale participation, although a certain amount of technological skepticism and being more of a tortoise than a hare are common features in Lean and can explain this to an extent.

In this post, I will examine the state of Lean thinking on social media at the moment.

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Lean and amusement parks: Särkänniemi through kaizen eyes

Lean and amusement parks Särkänniemi through kaizen eyesThere is an unfortunate side effect to being exposed to Lean thinking in large quantities: you begin to see so much waste in processes all around you. It is everywhere, and going Lean could help all these companies. That includes amusement parks!

I visited the Särkänniemi amusement park in Finland with my family today, and this is a tale of what my kaizen eyes (which are by no means perfect) saw on that trip. I will use Legoland Billund as a comparison a fair bit, as I visited that amusement park earlier this year.

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