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The Innovator's Toolkit: 50+ Techniques for Predictable and Sustainable Organic Growth, 2nd Edition by Neil DeCarlo, Philip Samuel, David Silverstein

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Technique 45

Mistake Proofing

Install measures to prevent human and system error.

 

Mistake proofing uses a device or procedure to reduce or eliminate the possibility for an error to occur. For example, every vehicle in Canada is fitted with a device that senses dusk and automatically turns the headlights on, a simple act that has reduced accidents.

In the realm of innovation, mistake proofing helps you combat the possibility that your product or service doesn't function properly due to unforeseen events, equipment failure, and other factors. Mistake proofing also makes it easier for employees to perform their work correctly and ensures immediate recognition and repair when a mistake is made.

Mistake proofing can be as straightforward as a checklist or warning label, or as complex as a computerized system that regulates a nuclear power plant. Regardless of the situation, you should strive to apply the maximum level of mistake proofing that is both affordable and feasible for your innovation.

The Mistake Proofing technique can be leveraged early in the innovation process to help you scope your opportunity and generate ideas. For instance, a new feature in some automobiles makes the car brake automatically if it senses that you're about to hit the vehicle in front of you. The mistake-proofing strategy of preventing accidents was leveraged early on when the job to be done was identified.

Mistake Proofing Principles

Before we look at the steps involved in mistake proofing a process ...

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