As a follow-up to the RYEC presentation at our last meeting, we are sharing their overview and reflections on their Coalition Kaizen process. The Community Innovation and Action Center was excited to support their reflection and improvement efforts and we look forward to hearing more about their next steps as they put their plan in to action.


 We know that a high-quality and inclusive coalition process can achieve community impact, but coalitions have many different moving parts and many stakeholder perspectives to consider. It can be difficult to identify focal points and make improvements with so much going on.


 Ready by 21 St. Louis partnered with the University of Missouri-St. Louis Community Innovation and Action Center (CIAC) and Thread STL to implement a Coalition Kaizen Event. “Kaizen” comes from the Japanese words Kai (“change”) and Zen (“for the good”). It refers to a process of reflection and continuous improvement. Kaizen events are most commonly associated with the manufacturing world, but this process brings the same principles to bear on community coalition work.

CIAC staff facilitated a session with the members of the Regional Youth Employment Coalition (RYEC). They asked coalition members to respond live—using anonymous polling software—to a series of questions that assessed the level of participation, consensus, & utility around several components of coalition process. These components, such as developing a mission statement or an evaluation plan, correlate with coalitions achieving community impact.

CIAC Director Paul Evensen explains a question as coalition members respond via text message.


 After going through the questions, staff produced a “heatmap” that summarized how RYEC compared to other community coalitions across these components. They helped the coalition to interpret the results, celebrate the positives, and identify some areas where the coalition could focus for improvement. Coalition backbone staff are now drafting an improvement plan for those areas that they will present for discussion and approval by the full coalition. This will make the Regional Youth Employment Coalition even stronger in 2019!


An example of the type of results the quality improvement event produces. The colors correspond to how the coalition compares to national norms. Note: These are not the results from RYEC’s event.


“…the facilitation was excellent and the results will be really helpful for the coalition.”

-RYEC Member