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By: Kelsey McIntyre

Hello all! Today we will be exploring why and how the Ball Game can be beneficial when learning and applying lean principles.

The objective of lean is to eliminate waste and continuously improve. It requires you to think outside the box, examine traditional practices to look for excess actions and coordinate to produce a well-oiled machine. The ball game allows players to develop these skills in a low-stress environment in order to continuously improve and think through how best to approach problems.

To play, you will need a group of at least five people, a timer and a ball.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Amongst your team, how long do you believe it will take to pass the ball between everyone
  2. The only rules are that the ball must have air, everybody must touch the ball, it must follow the same pattern and the starting point is the end point
  3. Complete your first attempt at passing the ball around to everyone

Within your group, discuss why it took the amount of time it did. Were there any errors? How might you improve in order to get the time down?

  1. Now try it again differently, trying to complete this task as quickly as possible

Now, gather in a group to discuss these questions:

  • How quickly can you get it done? Look for possible areas of waste: is there too much movement? How close is everyone? Is there a better way?
  • How did you come up with the original guess in regards to how long it would take to complete the objective? Was it accurate?
  • How did you improve each time?
  • What was the time difference between your first and your last attempts? How did the approaches differ?
  • Did members naturally take on specific roles within the group?How did group dynamics influence efficiency?

This game can help players internalise the lean principles of eliminating waste, continuously improving and aiming for perfection. It helps you to look at a situation that may initially seem straightforward and look for potential areas of growth.

These skills can be applied to your business in order to create a culture of growth, cooperation and striving for perfection in every area.


Skills, tools and techniques the Ball Game may help you with include Communication, Continuous Improvement, Flow, PDCA, Teamwork and the Eight Wastes.


If you would like to find out more about how we can help, you can contact us here.


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