In Detroit, one person operates the plane de-icing truck, shooting the liquid from an elevated perch while also steering the vehicle below that supports it. Eight people operated eight vehicles. In Boston, the truck is driven by one person while another is in the air controlling the de-icing. So if Boston is operating a dozen of these, they need 24 people per shift.
This is what innovation is about. For decades they’ve done de-icing, which can take 15 minutes or more than an hour depending on departure times and traffic, with a conventional truck and elevating platform. Someone asked, “Is there a better way?” And there obviously is.
Ask yourself that same question. Long ago I tired of consolidating notes from an hour’s-long strategy session and the easel sheets the teams used. Then I realized that a trusted, confidential executive assistant from the client could do that work since it was solely coordinating with no insights or additions. Over the years I saved myself months of time.
The largest obstacle to the better way is asking the wrong question: “How can we make what we’re doing better?” rather than “How can we achieve the same or better result with less labor?”
Why can’t the planes be de-iced by robotic and automated means without any people? Or why can’t they be made with surfaces that won’t ice up? Why can’t the client use the strategy process with you available remotely only if needed?