23 April 2009

Sink's accountability

I live in an appartment with more 4 young people from 3 different nationalities. We had a constant problem in our appartment: the amount of dirty dishes lying on the sink was always overwelming. Don't get me wrong, we could get 2 or 3 days with no dish there, but imidiatly when the first unwashed dish appear there, than no one else would wash their plates just after using it, accumulating a lot of dishes. That's a good example of how much the behaviour of other people influence others.

It seemed hopeless.

But then some people in the appartment had a brilliant idea: put name tags on the unwashed dishes, to point out who did not wash the dish and still had to do it. I was the first one to be affected by the measure: I got a little surprised and got even a little annoyed by the tag, but I washed my dishes.

Since then (around one week), there's hardly some dish on the sink and, when it is, we imidiatly tag it and it vanishes in a few hours.

What can we learn with our sink's accountability system?

Accountability is easy to get: just make public the action, the status of the action, the deadline and, the most important part, the neame of the responsible to do it. It doesn't need to be so complicated, an action plan with green, yellow and red on the wall can be enough.

It's like magic, but it's just accountability.


  1. Excellent post... It's all about accountability!

    We should implement one of those over Brazilian congress and politicians... ;)


  2. Yeah, but WHO will be accountable to implement it? ;)


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