Meet the Contest Winners!

by | Sep 1, 2009 | Blog | 0 comments

This year’s LEAN Communications™ contest entries showed that you can make big improvements and get better results with minimal expenditures—if you’re creative.

Meet this year’s winners:

1st Prize: Sarah Kinkade of Barnes-Jewish Hospital for “Outbrief Emails.”

The problem? The Hospital’s Lean Team presents an outbrief report every Friday morning for hospital leaders and other interested individuals. The report gives updates of the individual departments’ lean actions. Attendance was sparse because of other commitments, which meant that very few leaders and staff members were learning how lean was improving the patient experience.

The solution? Sarah, the first LEAN Communicator at the hospital, turned the outbrief report into a virtual communication to share electronically. Each brief includes a bottom-line identifier, explaining “What this means for the patient.” Also, teams that complete a kaizen yet can’t present at the outbrief meeting can request their summary to be included in the communication. Besides reaching a larger initial audience, the Outbrief Email is archived on the hospital’s intranet for all employees to access at their convenience.

The results? With no hard dollar costs, Sarah has been able to provide more information about lean with a larger number of hospital staff. With the increased knowledge, departments are now sharing more among them and adapting their lean learnings.

Sarah’s LEAN Communications™ prize? A Flip Video camcorder.

2nd Prize: Ilya Welfeld, Seymour Public Relations, for the PR campaign, “Uncle Sam’s Sampling” for Pretzel Crisps.

The problem? The need to generate big buzz for a new product with a tiny, recession-era budget. According to Ilya, harsh financial times call for creative communications, especially since clients still want excitement and results.

The solution? Using only cases of Pretzel Crisps and 30 individuals with no budget for paid placements or advertising, Seymour PR launched a massive tax day sampling campaign on April 15. In honor of “crunch time” for taxpayers, the individuals dressed as Uncle Sam and handed out 60,000 samples of Pretzel Crisps to post office goers waiting to mail their taxes. Seymour PR decided to concentrate its Uncle Sams at three post offices known for their high foot traffic and media interest.

The results? The taxpayers and the media paid attention to the Uncle Sams with their pretzels! Taxpayers gobbled up the samples. And Pretzel Crisps, along with Seymour PR, garnered glowing mentions in print, television and social media. Ilya estimates that the coverage the event received would have cost about $19,000 under traditional means. Yet, with her creativity, she procured the coverage for just a fraction of that.

Ilya’s LEAN Communications™ prize? An gift certificate.

3rd Prize, Tie: Laurie Ferris, International House, Berkeley for the email digest version of the I-House Times newsletter and Dick Axelrod, The Axelrod Group for “How to Engage People When You Don’t Have Time.” Both winning entries acknowledge that packaging content differently can reach more customers more efficiently and effectively.

The problem for I-House? The print version of the 8-page newsletter was limited to snail mail lists and newsstands at I-House and on campus.

The solution? When the University of California, Berkeley introduced a new broadcast email tool this spring, the I-House staff decided to take advantage of it. They created an email digest version of the newsletter featuring small thumbnail photos and short blurbs of key articles with links to the full stories. This new email digest is easier to use than the prior version, a PDF file.

The results? I-House and its newsletter readers are benefitting all around. The solution didn’t require any hard dollar expenditures. Circulation has increased thanks to the easy “forward to a friend” feature. I-House can track opens, forwards and click throughs while it saves money by reducing postage and printing costs on future newsletters.

The problem for the Axelrod Group? How to provide leaders with everyday engagement tools and techniques in an easily accessible format that they could access without travel and a 2-day workshop.

The solution? The Axelrod Group created a self-study program “How to Engage People When You Don’t Have Time” consisting of two CDs and a workbook. The program features 12 actions that individuals can take, one per day, to increase the level of employee engagement in their workgroups.

The results? People can invest $109 plus shipping to get a tool they can immediately use to learn how to increase engagement in their organization. The program is convenient and low cost.

Their LEAN Communications™ prize? Laurie and Dick each get a LEAN Communications™ tool.

Congratulations to the winners of the LEAN Communications™ contest! Here’s to doing more with less and getting great results! These winners prove that you can solve problems with ingenuity not money.


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