Suggestion Box Visual Mistake Proofing

This suggestion box was placed in one of the walkways within the airport in Basel, Switzerland. It caught my eye because of the clever use of plexi glass to make the contents of the box visible.

Making the contents of the box visible like this is a great visual mistake proofing because there is no need to unlock and open the lid to check, the box can be emptied before it is so full that it will not take new suggestions, and it makes it clear to people what they are supposed to do with the suggestion cards; fill them out and put them in the box.

As an added benefit, since it is possible to read what is on the suggestion cards inside the box through the transparent walls of the box, people can see what other people wrote and get ideas, avoid duplicating the idea, and even may be encouraged to write something less critical and more constructive.

There were only two suggestions in the box, but it was only 5AM on a Wednesday. Plenty of time for more improvement ideas. There was also a coin. I’m not sure why the coin was there, but money in the box is a great kaizen!


  1. John Santomer

    June 14, 2011 - 11:09 pm

    Dear Jon,
    A thought about the reason why a coin was in the box. AS you’ve said, write something less critical. Suggestion: 1.Why not fix the empty suggestion card forms atthe wall beside the announcement from EuroAirport? (The Announcement from Euro Airport should be at an eye level to avoid looking up or stooping down to read the message.)2. Why not make the plexi glass drop box’s design in a way that it can be also fixed on the wall leveled with the plank of wood. This will eliminate the empty suggestion card holder or the drop box from accidentally falling off the small surface. People can and will use the plank as a writing surface to fill-in the suggestion forms. This will clear the surface and will secure both the drop box and the empty suggestion card holder. Just a thought…

  2. Rey Elbo

    July 21, 2011 - 3:01 am

    Hi Jon!
    I’d like to believe that Janelle Barlow was right when she wrote the book “A Complaint is a Gift.” That’s why I don’t see negative comments as something that should be rejected or counter-balanced with a positive one.
    Further, Europort management may allow the provision of an inexpensive pen or pencil available for the general public. It can be attached to a string as a mistake-proofing device against absent-minded users.
    Rey Elbo

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