A National Suggestion Box
By submitting suggestions to his company's "Suggestion Box," my Dad, William Wellington Archibald, won several cash awards from his long-time employer, Eastman Kodak Company, in Rochester, New York.
As a lad, I remember how eagerly I looked forward to reading the "awards column" in Kodak's monthly newspaper, The Kodakery. For me, this column was the publication's most attractive feature, the only one I always read. http://rochistory.com/blog/?p=1696
It occurs to me that the federal goverment would wisely create an online National Suggestion Box, an institution that would pay for itself many times over.
I have wracked my brain trying to conjure a single contrary argument and I find none.
In essence, the National Suggestion Box (NSB) would be open to all citizens.
And all suggestions, by category, would be published - in their entirety -- on a dedicated webpage... NationalSuggestionBox.gov
Categories would include (but not be limited to) Defense, Education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, National Parks & Monuments, The Postal Service, National Institutes of Health, Bureau of Land Management, Amtrak, Immigration, etc.
Although the people who manage government agencies could choose to adopt whatever suggestions they wish, citizens who do not make submission will nevertheless be able to vote - online - for those published suggestions that impress them most.
It would not be mandatory for government agency managers to implement any of the suggestions that receive the greatest number of popular votes (in a designated time period).
However, by ensuring that citizens can easily express their approval -- along with the simultaneous publication of "running" vote totals -- those managers who avoid the adoption of good ideas because they cause additional work, "upheaval" and/or the elimination of many "cozy relationships" between agencies and their long-established suppliers, this system of "popular review" would hold managers' "feet to the fire."
An Aside: One "suggestion" might be to discharbe managers who repeatedly refuse to adopt suggestions approved by a resounding majority of Americans. "Three strikes and your out?"
I do not have clear recollection of how many "worker suggestions" Kodak approved each month, but, if memory serves, the number ranged from "half a dozen" to "a dozen."
Furthermore, all "winning" Kodak suggestions were rewarded with cash prizes paid for by the savings generated from the good ideas themselves. (Perhaps NSB awards could be a percentage of actual savings arising from a given suggestion.)
Not surprisingly, Kodak's suggestion box made workers feel as if their ingenuity and creativity were not only valued but invited. And with this appreciation came improved morale and a sense of "being part of a team" rather than a mechanical cog in a corporate wheel.
What's not to like?
Do you see any impediment standing in the way of a National Suggestion Box, a resource that would result in better government, more efficient government and a combined sense of national purpose and patriotic participation?
Another Rochester, New York company, Xerox, was the first industrial giant in "The New World" to incorporate the post-War Japanese concept of "Kaizen" - or "continuous improvement."
Since there will be frivolous submissions, there will be a separate online "repository" where such ideas will be logged just in case they are unjustly categorized as "frivolous." "One person's absurdity is another's genius."
State and local governments would also benefit from institution of "Suggestions Boxes."
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