Looking for Simple Lean Games

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    Our company is new to CI and we are holding a communications evening which is the perfect chance to sell it to them, I would like to use a simple lean game does anyone have any ideas? Or anything else that could be used on this evening to show the employees what lean is? But in a simple way.

    Our biggest challenge which I’m sure is the same with the majority of companies at the start of this journey is changing the culture. Does anyone have any ideas on this?

    Thank you in advance.



    Andrew Parr

    The Lego game showing single piece flow is one that usually mazes people because it is counter-intuitive and they will start by believing batching is best and be amazed when you disprove it. I’m sure you can google it but you will need some lego!

    Otherwise, “The Big Book of Six Sigma Training Games” has some fun ones in the 50 it demonstrates. That may help if you can get a copy off Ebay or one of the online booksellers in time.


    Michael Cyger

    Hi Nicole,

    gave a great simulation example to check out.

    Here are a couple of past iSixSigma discussion threads you might want to read:

    Lean Simulation:

    Six Sigma Games:

    Another Six Sigma Games:

    MoreSteam offers a paid-game that comes packaged and ready for use (“SigmaBrew® DMAIC is an online project game for classroom training. The multi-player simulation provides deployments and Blended Learning training programs with a rich project experience, where students practice process improvement tools and techniques in a safe, constructive environment.”), but it’s not Lean only:

    Finally, when I was at GE in the 1990s we did a GE Capital Courier simulation that was fantastic, but — again — it might be more than you want (“The Courier Simulation is a one-day group experiential learning exercise that comes as close as you can get to a real life Business Transformation, Lean, Lean Six Sigma or Agile Enterprise experience. It’s fun, hands-on, fast-paced, and is consistently rated by participants as one of their most valuable training experiences. Developed first for General Electric, the simulation has been enthusiastically received by the world’s largest corporations.”). Rath & Strong offers that product nowadays:

    Hope these thread provide ideas and/or support in your CI evening of fun!




    The LEGO exercise is a great way to look at lean. It can be made simple to detailed depending on how far you want to go with the exercise. I’d make sure that you have other experienced lean practitioners there to answer questions and be well prepared. A lot of people hear lean and get scared. Change can be hard, so make sure you bribe them a little with food and drink. Lean really is the only way to do business. I hope you success in your lean journey.



    One that I liked to use when I was consulting is the penny queuing exercise, a.k.a. the penny game. You can find more info with a quick search. I called it “50 Lincolns” because that’s how many pennies are in roll. You can use as few as 5 or 10 pennies but I found that 50 works best. The way I did it was to divide into teams of three to five people at a table. Give the first person the pennies. Ask the first person to turn each penny over then slide them (as a batch) to the next person, and so on until all 50 pennies reach the end. The only rule is that each person must turn over each penny, representing steps in the process. Time how long it takes and count how many are heads. Tails are defectives. Then ask them to figure out a better way to do it. Repeat several times. The second time they’re likely to ask first person to make sure all the pennies are heads, or tails depending how many flipping steps. This adds a non value added step, increasing time. Better, they might ask me (the supplier) to do that before giving them the pennies. They might try smaller batches, such as 10 at a time. They might choose to do continuous rather than batch processing so that people don’t waste time waiting. If they do that, they might want me to give them one penny at time (JIT). They might think of handing each penny from one person to the next rather than sliding it across the table, flipping it at the same. They might think of putting all the pennies in the middle so each person can reach them, reducing transport. This simple exercise provides ample opportunity to discuss the concepts and sources of waste.


    Chris Seider

    @michaelcyger great response….. though I’m way behind on the praise!

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