Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mistake-proofing your presentation outfit

If you do a lot of traveling to give presentations, then you might consider setting up a “go bag” to visually organize what you take along. In my February 1st post I discussed the use of checklists. They are one aspect of a more general topic in quality called mistake-proofing, which is the use of process or design features to prevent errors. 

A couple decades ago I set up a very complete 35-mm camera outfit in a big Pelican case similar to the camera case shown above. The precut “pick and pluck” foam had places for all my usual equipment and consumables. Before I headed out the door all I had to do was to lift the lid and look inside to confirm that I had: both my camera bodies, all three lenses, both flashes, and both four rolls of color film and eight AA spare batteries for my flashes. Any empty cavity in the foam reminded me that something important was missing.

The clear package for these four dry-erase markers reminds me to check that I have all of them, both before and after a presentation. A case with foam inserts and plastic bags, boxes, and other packages can be used to organize equipment like a laptop computer, projector, and all their accessories.

When choosing a case you need to consider its appearance to others. A person I knew put his camera system in a very ostentatious Zero Halliburton aluminum case. After only one plane trip he realized that to strangers (and thieves) in the airport it had screamed that “I’m expensive, please steal me!” He reluctantly changed to a more humble black plastic pistol case.

Long ago I read a magazine article in Shutterbug describing the different types of travel containers photographers preferred. One liked Igloo picnic coolers with wheels, another used a diaper bag, and a third used a beat-up old suitcase from a thrift store. I’m going to put my digital camera system into a black plastic, vintage attache case.

John Grout wrote a very detailed 166-page free ebook on Mistake-Proofing the Design of Health Care Processes.

The camera case image is from Skymast.


Gavin Meikle, Trainer, Speaker & Coach said...

Thanks for sharing an interesting post. I was at a professional speakers association meeting here in the UK when international CEO speaker Roger Harrap shared the contents of his speakers bag. Projector, Remore control, quality headset microphone, USB sticks etc. You have inspired me to post on this subject on my own blog http:www.inter-activ.co.uk/gavin's-blog

Richard I. Garber said...


I'm glad you enjoyed it. Another thing I forgot to say that I always carry is a pocket size multipurpose tool. The little scissors often comes in handy!