Honda has a suggestion system whereby individual associates can propose ideas to make improvements at their workplaces. According to Mitsuru Asahina of the Human Resources Development Center, this system has a long history at Honda.
“The basic concept of the suggestion system is to make use of individuals’ creativity to make our workplaces better places to work,” he explained, “and it is implemented as part of our founder Soichiro Honda.” Nearly sixty years later, this system has spread among associates to the point that there were 189,357 submissions in the period from August 2010 to July 2011.
At the Honda Innovative Ideas Convention, which took place January 27, 2012 in the Aoyama Headquarters reception room, the finalists presented their ideas. There was a great deal of creativity in the presentations themselves. Some of the finalists brought actual prototypes of their proposals, while others spoke along with elaborate presentations.
President Takanobu Ito and then-Vice President Akio Hamada attentively listened to the presentations and asked technical questions, which the young presenters answered with confidence.
Following the presentations by the finalists, the group moved to a different location for the awards ceremony, where President Ito made the following comments.
“During 2011 with the earthquake in the Tohoku region and the flooding in Thailand, Honda suffered some of the greatest shocks since the company was founded. Amid these great difficulties, the number of proposals submitted rose by 6% from the prior year. I believe this is Honda’s strength. The presentations today reminded me that suggestions from associates are the very foundation of Honda. Let’s continue to work at upgrading skills and boosting motivation at each workplace.” At the ceremony, eight proposals received the President’s Award and three others received the Environmental Campaign Special Prize. The awards were presented by President Ito.
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