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Testing The Keeper's Hive: A Journey of Improvement

From the very beginning, we have strived to make our beehives better every single year. We followed the "PDSA" cycle on an annual basis: Plan, Do, Study, Act. Below is a breakdown of how this process applied to our approach to field testing The Keeper's Hive.


Each year, our design changes starts coming together during fall and winter. We review the data collected during the last season and begin to brainstorm and make blueprints. We think about what worked well and what still needs improvement. We continue to study honeybee biology and read the latest journals. Then, after we've identified the next round of changes, we head to our workshop and create prototypes. We often test multiple prototypes at once, deciding how many of each to put out in the field and what data we want to collect.


When spring arrives, it's time for our prototypes to get out into the apiaries. In our area, spring is short, only about two months. We use this time to study how well our prototypes work and also find other beekeepers who will give them a try. 


Sometimes not all testers report back, but when they do we have to listen to their feedback. But, like Albert Einstein once said, not everything we can count matters, and not everything that matters can be counted. Many things can affect what we see, and we try not to have any biases.We wonder how perfect our beehive should be. The iPhone keeps changing, but we're not in a hurry. We like to tinker and make things better.


When all the hives are winterized and the season is over, the "Act" phase once again blends into the "Plan" phase. We go back to early mornings in the workshop and start planning new prototypes based on our experience and feedback from testers. Even though some prototypes don't work out, we keep improving!

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