Wednesday, September 09, 2009

How to use the Red Bead Experiment with large audience groups


The RedBead Game is quite suitable for use with large groups.

Dr. Deming played the game with groups as large as around 1200 people in a very large audience using TV monitors. So it is suitable to be played with large groups.

The following video is a short clip that shows how Dr. Deming played the RedBead Experiment with his large groups:

The above video is from the Deming Video Library series, which is an excellent video tool on Dr. Deming's concepts.


To do so however, the presenter facilitor needs to be somewhat of a clever person almost a showman of sorts. The way it would work is to take about one hour. 45 minutes is minimum. You first present some of the concepts of Dr. Deming and the concept of going Beyond Total Quality Management to create a concept of Customer Delight where you anticipate the needs of the customer and develop solutions before they even ask.

The Red Bead Experiment show a wide range of talking points and makes them quite visable. Some of these points are:

1. management has very little effect on the day to day operations

2. the willing worker also has little effect once the process has been established.

3. The key is that if management does not like the day to day results, they have to DESIGN changes in how the process is to be run.

4. as management does NOT know specifically what is happening (wrong = RED BEADS) with the day to day operation.

5. the workers know the hidden names on the RED BEAD problems.

6. but if management does NOT create a non threating environment to allow the willing worker to feel free to speak up then the willing workers will remain silent and everybody loses.

7. everyone is a customer and a supplier of someone elese in life (both on the job and in personal life) so the concepts of the Red Bead Experiment have a wide application

There are six (6) videos available on YouTube that show how one large organization uses the Red Bead Game with large groups:

Our two part 35 minute DVD video was developed to be shown to both audience groups and to be used as a train the trainer for facilitators. Our video mabe be previewed at:

And may be viewed in it's entirity at:


This following information is being provided to assist a meeting facilitator on developing an agenda for a group session where the Dr. Deming Red Bead Experiment will be presented.

The RED BEAD Game in its standard configuration is suitable for group presentations from one (1) person to over one Thousand (1000+) persons.

In addition to standard audio/video equipment, paper flip charts and stands and erasable white boards should be considered to collect and display information as discussed with the group.

The Bead Game score sheet may be printed as a standard paper size clear transparency for use on an overhead projector (recommended) or printed on poster size paper for use on a flip chart stand.

To add additional drama to the playing of the game you may consider the use of a large Tupperware / Rubbermaid (or equivalent) container or a large clear plastic or glass punch bowl. The colored beads of both colors may be poured back and forth between containers to add effect to the show.

Unlike team training games, the RED BEAD Experiment should be played as one large audience group all at one time rather than using the game simultaneously with multiple smaller groups.

The Red Bead Experiment is intended to teach some very fine details of human relations and interpersonal skills between management and workers and is not intended to teach teamwork skills.

The Red Bead Experiment is intended to develop an "ah ha" understanding of human relationship principles of the interplay between top management and lower layers of management and first line willing workers. Playing the game in separate smaller groups can result in some different levels of experience and learning learning to be missed by people in some of the groups.

Wherever possible it is recommended that the actual players of the game during the presentation be from as high in management levels as possible. Part of the strategy of the game play is to develop / poke some small non-threatening fun at the actions and statements of top management in front of the lower level managers, supervisors and workers.

This tends to breakdown barriers (class levels) between the layers of people.

When the game is played all together in one group then all the audience experiences the same at the same time and adds to the drama and the excitement of the play.

Now we outline some additional reading materials before you start to put the concept of the Red Bead Game script together for the group. (if any document requires a password it is: willing4worker

1. Next read the attached document entitled: The Deming System of Profound Knowledge.pdf

The most important point is found on at the bottom of page 1 and the top of page 2 and completes with this statement: "A leader of transformation, and managers involved, need to learn the psychology of individuals, the psychology of a group, the psychology of society, and the psychology of change."

2. Next read the attached article entitled: red bead lessons.pdf


Additional Study Guide materials are available with your purchase of the Red Bead Experiment kit

We also recommend that the discussions in the online LinkedIn discussion group be studied for ideas.

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