A client recently asked if I had a poster for A3 thinking that they could post on meeting room walls and other locations for the purposes of general communication. I did not have one but agreed to sketch one out for discussion purposes. After that they would adjust it and make their own 24″ by 36″ posters. Here is the concept that I came up with. The poster has three levels and I will highlight each one below with some brief explanation.
1. The top level of the poster reflects three of the basic embedded tenants of A3 thinking. There are arguably more points than these three but these items certainly deserve some mention in any list. A3 Thinking is a form of problem solving as well and can function as a proposal writing device or status review tool. In all three cases executing some form of problem solving is a major pillar of the A3 thinking concept. Secondly is the concept of mentoring. By writing down what you are working on and having it critiqued by supervisors, managers, peers, or other associates in the company you are creating a great learning vehicle for yourself and others as well. Thirdly A3 Thinking is about effective communication and collaboration. Meetings that often take hours to get on track or obtaining traction can hone in on the necessary details very quickly and efficiently when done correctly with an A3.
2. The second level of the poster depicts the concept that good A3 reports are not written in the dark. The reports contain some linkage to organizational goals and objectives. This may be accomplished via a formal mechanism such as policy deployment or a less formal method such as departmental goal setting. Of course A3′s can simply be a bottom up activity as well but for most impact in terms of focusing the vital few resources of any organization it is best to focus on the main problems or opportunities. On the right side the chart depicts a generic A3 format that follows the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle of improvement. Different formats of course exist based upon need. This one is simply a common one used for training and communication purposes.
3. The third level of the poster highlights seven of the key elements we discussed in the A3 Thinking book . These seven are what we consider critical characteristics (not steps) of a good A3 report. Not all will always be embedded in every report however these are good to review once you have a draft complete. On the right side is a sample dialogue that occurs between the writer of the A3 report and the reviewer. Creating meaningful reviews and discussions is one of the positive desired outcomes of an A3 report.
This is one of several concepts developed for the poster. Feel free to take this idea and use it as a basis to create your own custom poster or presentation slide. Below is a link to a pdf file of the graphic.