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The Nexie Awards, Honoring the Best and Brightest of the KaiNexus Tribe

Posted by Jake Sussman

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Sep 15, 2017, 2:13:38 PM

IMG_0165.pngAt KaiNexus, we are firm believers that recognition is the best form of motivation. In some cases, individuals may be motivated differently; some intrinsically and others extrinsically. Despite these differences, motivation through recognition can be a simple and universal method for getting people fired up.

Every year at KaiNexus we host an annual User Conference in Austin, Texas, where we invite all of our customers to gather for 3 days of knowledge sharing, networking, and keynote presentations. In the spirit of continuous improvement, every year the conference gets bigger and better, due to a maturing industry and also because we make it a point to listen and incorporate attendee feedback. Practice what you preach, if you will.

This year we decided to incorporate a new form of recognition at the conference. Rarely do we have our customers under the same roof, so we wanted to take advantage of the gathering. KaiNexus customers are at the cutting edge of using technology to build improvement cultures. What does that mean? It means that people who use KaiNexus are innovative leaders, doing some very unique things with technology to bring out the best in people at their organization. This fire amongst our customers is the reason I come to work.

Oftentimes KaiNexus customers are the ones recognizing and rewarding others. We decided to change the game for an evening by hosting an informal awards ceremony to honor customers for their hard work and commitment to excellence throughout the year. The awards, now officially referred to as "Nexies," were meant to be a play on the Oscar or Grammy, and given based on a variety of criteria and categories. Behind the scenes, what started as an OI in our internal KaiNexus called "Customer Awards" was quickly implemented by selecting categories and nominees. After a quick run through the marketing engine, we had our awards!

This year's Nexie Awards were given to organizations based on the following categories:

  1. True Grit

    Improvement takes patience and a can-do mindset. Even in good cultures, adoption of a new technology requires patience and change management.


    This year’s True Grit award went to Patty Kallal at Texas Health Resources. Their dedication to spreading an improvement culture has resulted in an impact of $3.5 million, a savings of 3300 hours, over 500 improvements, and a 92% completion rate of all improvements in KaiNexus.


  2. The Change Maker

    This is awarded for the most completed improvements in the last 12 months.


    The winner of the 2017 Change Maker award was JC Cannistraro, who has completed over 2,600 improvements in the last year. With an employee engagement rate of 84%, that’s a whopping 7 improvements per person in the last year, with a 95% completion rate.


  3. Top Turnaround

    The Top Turnaround is awarded to the KaiNexus customer who has displayed the most progress using KaiNexus building culture since last year’s conference.


    This award went to Mike McGowan from Memorial Health System, who famously sat on stage in a panel at the 2016 User Conference and claimed that he was likely “the worst KaiNexus customer,” referencing his feelings of underutilizing the platform. Since then, he has more than doubled the number of improvements captured per year and has nearly five times the number of active users in the system. We can’t wait to see what they’ve accomplished by next year’s conference!


  4. The Peanut Butter

    This one is given to customers who demonstrate the natural ability to “spread” improvement.


    The Peanut Butter award was given to Justin Self at BJC Health, who opted to use KaiNexus in their radiology department even though the rest of the organization was using a different platform. Since then, they’ve saved over $400,000 and 4000 hours with an average of two annualized improvements per person.


  5. Efficiency Experts

    This award is for the customer whose organization has logged the highest amount of time savings and for using the product in creative, wildly efficient ways.


    This year, the Efficiency Award was given to Pam Pothoven at GreenState Credit Union, whose organization has soared beyond everyone else in terms of time savings with a whopping 33,000 hours saved in the last year. Also notable is that GreenState Credit Union has utilized their marketing and design resources to create AWESOME boards and badges, the rollout of which resulted in a giant increase in employee engagement.


  6. Rookie of the Year

    Some customers show signs of greatness within the first few months. This award is for first-year customers with outstanding activity and impact numbers.


    The 2017 Rookie of the Year went to CareSource. Now, it’s hard to call someone a rookie when the person who brought KaiNexus to the organization had prior experience using KaiNexus at another company, but really, the language, processes, and support are so different when going between organizations that it’s really like going to a new league. The team at CareSource grabbed the reigns and is off to an incredible start, though, with 360 improvements so far this year and an impact of $175 MILLION. Crazy, right?


  7. Captain Feedback

    This award is for submitting more product enhancement requests than any other KaiNexus customer.


    The Captain Feedback award went to James Pryor at Summit Health, who has submitted 43 ideas for improving KaiNexus so far. This is HUGE for KaiNexus; none of us on the KaiNexus team lead the improvement program for a large organization, so we depend on our customers to tell us what they need to grow and be successful. The contributions that James has made to the platform have gone a long way toward making KaiNexus better for everyone.


  8. Honorary KaiNexus Team Member  

    This award is for customers who always find ways to make KaiNexus better as a company. Whether through product requests, hosting webinars, or simply making introductions to others in the lean/CI community, this customer is inherently dedicated to improving KaiNexus.


    Our team had no trouble reaching a consensus around who to designate the 2017 Honorary KaiNexus Team Member. Tania Lyon at St. Clair hospital has gone above and beyond what we could have hoped for in terms of customer engagement and evangelism. She’s always giving us ideas for the product and challenging us to grow in new ways, she makes introductions and gives reference calls, and has even presented at a conference and on a webinar. Her work is invaluable to achieving our goal of spreading continuous improvement.


  9. Lifetime Achievement Award

    This honor goes to an organization that has been with KaiNexus since before we had our first official office. The winners of this award have not only been long-time customers, but they also embody all the characteristics of a best-in-class continuous improvement organization.


    This is another award that was easy for our team to agree on. Mary Greeley Medical Center has been with KaiNexus since 2013 and has worked with us through a ton of growth and development. They made the transition from KaiNexus 1.5 to 2.0, and we learn so much from the work they do in KaiNexus. They began using KaiNexus to manage their Kaizen Events, and over the years have spread their improvement culture down to their front line employees. They too have contributed to the success of KaiNexus with work like reference calls, webinars, and interviews. The team at Mary Greeley has played a huge part in making KaiNexus what it is today, and we’re so grateful to them for that.

The inaugural Nexie Awards Ceremony was so much fun! What was intended to be a light-hearted thank you gesture to our outstanding customers turned into the start of a tradition. After the awards were given out, intrigued attendees began to approach award winners and without really trying, we fostered more knowledge sharing; which is what the User Conference is all about. The resulting Nexie chatter suggested that by recognizing great work we can easily motivate others to improve.

Like many other initiatives at KaiNexus, we hope to improve the Nexie Awards over time. There were several OIs that came about after the ceremony, but in general, we think everyone enjoyed receiving awards and learning about their peers. Congratulations to all of our Nexie winners and stay tuned for the 2018 nominees!

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