Seeing our Mental Models LO7215

Antonio Espin (
Mon, 6 May 1996 10:12:57 -0500

Hello to everyone,

Just to contribute with an example of mental models. As part of my job at
College, I regularly help our extension branch with consulting and
courses. Right now they have asked me to help with training for a small
business the Institute is sponsoring through a Government fund. This
business is located in one of the most impoverished parts of our State,
Morelos, the village is called Huazulco. The town characterizes for being
a peanut and amaranto candy producer, most of the people are themselves
peasants who grow their materials. Farming is a declining business in this
comunity, so they have set a goal to become candy producers all-year long,
not just when they are not able to grow corn or anithing else.

For these people, the paradigm change is:

Make candies when there isn't rain --------> Be a candy producer who in part
enough to grow corn or peanut grows its materials

For us, the challenge is transform peasants into entrepreneurs and

Right now the training focus on "Standardization for Quality". Last
saturday I conducted an excercise, dividing the group in two I asked one
group to be the "customer" and the other group to be the "producer". The
example was a refrigerator, the cliet had to determine what he needed, the
producer had to define what teh product content should be. First, they
shouldn't communicate, this to make evident the need for comunication when
defining a product. A gave them 15 minutes.

To my surprise 30 minutes passed and no progress seemed evident in niether
team, I decided to inquire them. The response thrilled me: NOBODY HAD A
FRIDGE! I can't tell you how embarrased I felt: these are poor people, but
my concept of scarcity did't take a refrigerator out.

Later, I reflected on this experience, maybe we shouldn't forget that
there is nothing absolut, specially our perception of social affairs. I
hope this is of your interest.

Best regards,

Jose-Antonio Espin
Vox/Fax: (+52.73) 14.35.89
Industrial Engineering Department
ITESM-Campus Morelos
Apdo.Postal 99-C
Cuernavaca, MEXICO 62050

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