Autonomating to enable self-awareness

Autonomating to enable self-awareness

One of the operators at a client told me that she was experiencing the autonomated Human Interface Mate as a system that relieved her of the stress of making a mistake. The mere thought of making mistakes is not a pleasant thought that people will try to avoid.

Avoiding bad news.

We like to receive good news but dislike bad news. Sometimes we think that a mistake we made will be held as a personal failure. This thinking sometimes leads to hiding it and having “bad feelings”. When people come to realize that their ways of working might be dysfunctional, this behaviors can drag down performance. In current workplace with small batches and many variants, full of stress, we may feel that there is no room for recovery, and like a body that only exercises and doesn’t recover, this might result in illness. Becoming aware of this alone is not enough.

We’re only Human

Maybe, just maybe, we can realize that these two things, “bad news” and the personality of the person or the company on the other hand, are two completely different things but are usually correlated! The mistake made probably happened when we were not giving full attention, when we were distracted, didn’t want to work even! We don’t need to take this personal as Billy Joel says “we’re only human, we’re supposed to make mistakes!”.

Failing because something went wrong doesn’t mean we are a “bad person”. As Dr. Bakx [1] would say “we are only here for a split second in history and still have a lot to learn so this means we don’t have to take the whole world on our shoulders”. The intention of autonomation is to create an environment to reflect and examine our ‘mistakes’ or better said “things that happened”, their underlying assumptions, thinking patterns biases and blindness to the real context.

Self-awareness is the first step.

The value of autonomation is that it should provide a mirror for self-reflection, encouraging self-awareness, and giving guidance on practice routines, while providing reassurance and confidence that the temporary leadership stop-and-fix can bring stop-and-think. Autonomation for me begins by assuming that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture as at that moment the best known way deliver needs. We all share the same, basic human needs, and that each of our actions are strategies to meet one or more of these needs, sometimes blind our true needs!

The true need for us (the operator and all people for that matter) is to be respected, recognized and acknowledged for our contribution and get understanding for our emotional dips.  Our worst nightmare is our fear that our human emotions and actions result in a disappointment by our leaders!

At some point we thought intuitively that the earth was flat. Today nobody will state this, so we seem to be able to change intuitive to more thought-through ideas. The same can be done with our intuition on mistakes and emotions. Once we can get beyond this, the path is paved with “things that happened”, their underlying assumptions, the thinking patterns behind them and the brightness of the real context shines more than ever!

Many companies define lean as eliminating waste. While this definition is not necessarily mis-taken, it is hollow. This type of lean can limit people’s eagerness to make mistakes, experiment, learn and develop themselves. When the company recognizes that this sense of satisfaction and intellectual curiosity regarding lean was out of balance, it may be a hard pill to swallow [2]. Remaining self-ignorant would have cost the company far more in the long-run but is so much easier to do!

The Human Interface Mate could help observe objectively and point out what the operator can’t see. The Human Interface Mate could help operator to be more aware of how she or he is doing. HIM is able to recognize where the operator needs more practice and asks the person to oversee the practice to help them become self-aware. This self-awareness is what I believe is the key to jidoka (as a part of Lean) or autonomation.

Autonomation is..

Arkite describes Autonomation as “creating self-awareness for operators”. It guarantees quality through the following principles:

•     Navigate the operator through the process (if necessary) via visual universal micro instructions (in the right place at the right time with the right part)

•     Detect abnormality of deviation from pre-defined standardized work.

•     Indicate deviance visually.

•     Inform and train the operator possible in a motivational and gamified way.

•     Operator displays own observed deviation (s) via virtual buttons.

•     Support the operator in all administrative tasks (such as replenishment, maintenance, HR issues, social aspects)

Don’t automate, autonomate. People matter.

#lean #jidoka #autonomation #augmented reality


[1] Dr. G. Bakx, De Strategie Van Het Geluk/ Nederlandstalig  9789490382445 januari 2011, Witsand


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