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Learn How to Focus and Accelerate Your Lean Efforts Using Collaborative Learning

The names are different – consortium, network, partnership. But lean learning-based groups all apply the same powerful strategy of collaborative learning to help members obtain and sustain better business results from their lean transformations.

This year, LEI's annual Lean Transformation Summit will show you how to borrow the learning curve of Lean Thinkers who are sharing resources and experiences through collaborative learning groups so that you too can:

  • Fully leverage the positive impact of learning-by-doing, a practical, nontheoretical way of learning that happens at the gemba with colleagues inside and outside your company to accelerate learning and the overall lean transformation. Plus, learning-by-doing develops people who have deep direct experience (not tacit knowledge) in applying lean tools and adopting lean behaviors so that improvements you put in place, stay in place.
  • Build credibility for your lean culture change message. When your managers and associates hear the same change message at other companies, it inspires belief in your company's call for change.
  • Structure gemba visits around a specific theme such as strategy deployment (hoshin kanri) to ensure that gemba walks are not desultory tours. You'll understand how to effectively design these visits so learning goes in two directions: from host to guests and back to hosts as visitors ask questions and offer constructive feedback. You'll also find out how companies organize teaching so that it comes from all levels of the host organization, from CEO to front-line staff.
  • Develop better lean leaders by creating a path for continuously exchanging ideas with managers and executives who are confronting the same challenges you face.
  • Bring together insights and resources from collaborative partners about how to implement new behaviors such as leader standard work so you build sustainable capability in people as fast as possible.
  • Profit from the knowledge gained by learning group sub-networks pursuing tightly focused special interest topics. Discover how the valuable learning of special interest groups is diffused to the full network for further exploration and broad application.
  • Tap the thinking and networks of collaborative partners for guidance on developing a viable lean effort focused on your company's True North.


Summit Program


Keynote Speaker

John Shook John Shook - Chairman and CEO, Lean Enterprise Institute

The newly appointed CEO of LEI and author of Learning to See and Managing to Learn, will be the Summit host and closing keynote speaker.




Plenary Sessions


You’ll learn from these collaborative learning leaders – the Healthcare Value Network, Jacksonville Lean Consortium, Young Presidents Organization, and Medtronic, a member of LEI's Partners Program, our research and learning network.

Young Presidents’ Organization

Unites 19,000 business leaders in more than 100 countries around its mission of exchanging ideas and concerns -- chief executive to chief executive. At the core of this six-decade-old, peer-to-peer network are Forums. Here, executives ask for advice in confidence. But guidance is not "given." Instead, mentor executives of YPO ask questions of the mentee to understand their problem and coach them to their own solutions in a mutual learning process. www.ypo.org

Karl Wadensten Karl Wadensten
President of Vibco


About the Presentation »

Healthcare Value Network

A peer-to-peer, collaborative learning community of healthcare leaders committed to lean transformation. Founded in 2009 as a partnership between The Lean Enterprise Institute and ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, HVN's core purpose is "learn, share, and connect." Members come together to exchange ideas and accelerate each other's lean efforts. www.healthcarevalueleaders.org

Dr. John ToussaintDr. John Toussaint


About the Presentation »

Jacksonville Lean Consortium

Includes nearly 40 big and small companies in manufacturing, local government, services, and healthcare supporting each other's lean efforts through shared learning and networking. In addition to workshops on lean tools and management, "Lean Jax" runs member-to-member problem-solving events to bring in "fresh eyes from outside" to help companies get new perspectives and solutions for tough problems.

Jerry BussellJerry Bussell
Founder and Past Chairman


About the Presentation »


Medtronic incorporates collaboration – "horizontal learning" -- right into its Medtronic Operating System to leverage best practices among plants and across the company.

Greg JohnsonGreg Johnson
Sr. Director of Process Solutions


About the Presentation »



Collaborate Today!

Right now you can begin collaborating with thousands of other Lean Thinkers with free resources at www.lean.org

  • A3 Dojo – Upload your A3 for feedback or give advice to others who have uploaded their A3s on this unique web page that includes insights from senseis.

  • Connection Center – find fellow Lean Thinkers to collaborate with down the highway or around the world.
  • Forums – 8 Forums let you post questions or answer questions posted by others on a wide variety of top-of-mind issues.

Watch presentations from the 2011Summit by LEI CEO John Shook on the significance of lean "Frontiers and Fundamentals" and a special presentation by LEI Founder Jim Womack on what he has observed during years of taking gemba walks through manufacturing and service companies.

A Better Lean Conference Experience
The unique design of the Summit provides you with relevant, real-world learning — in-depth and in a variety of ways:

  • In Plenary Sessions, executives from the Healthcare Value Network, Jacksonville Lean Consortium, Young Presidents Organization, and Medtronic will describe the benefits of collaborative learning.
  • In Breakout Sessions, other networks leaders will follow up on the plenary sessions by providing details about how these leveraged learning organizations provide value to member companies pursuing lean conversions, their challenges, and what results have been achieved.
  • And LEI’s policy of Limited Attendance means you’ll have ample time for post-presentation discussions or follow-up questions.



Learning Sessions


Personalize your Summit experience by exploring topics that you told us were important. In small interactive sessions where you can learn, discuss, and reflect, you'll discover applications and methodologies on the Frontier of lean thinking. These sessions will be offered three times during the Summit so you will have the opportunity to participate in multiple sessions.


Seeing the Whole Value Stream
Dave Brunt

To truly unlock the strategic competitive advantage of delivering value to customers, you need a highly responsive supply chain. In Seeing the Whole Value Stream, you will learn how to move beyond value-stream mapping individual facilities, to take an “end-to-end” perspective of the complete value stream from raw material to end customer.

Instructor David Brunt (co-author with Dan Jones of two of the cases in the newly published second edition of the workbook Seeing the Whole Value Stream) will give you key insights into mapping the extended value stream and recognizing the huge hidden potential for improvement. For example, research and work by Brunt and Jones in this area shows that it is common to find that nearly 90% of the actions and 99.99% of the time required for a value stream's current state create no value.

In addition, the methodology shows demand amplification of orders as they travel up the value stream, steadily growing quality problems, and steadily deteriorating shipping performance at every point up stream from the customer.

Using the cases from the book and other real examples across different sectors, you will learn:

  • How to use the extended value-stream mapping methodology to truly impact business goals and performance.
  • How to build a business case for collaboration with supply chain partners.
  • Key features of a lean value stream.


Limited Attendance - We set a ceiling on the number of attendees so you'll have ample time for discussions or to ask presenters follow-up questions.

The summit is designed to be the best networking venue in the Lean Community by providing formal and informal ways for you to connect with counterparts facing the same challenges as you:

  • March 6th - Welcome Reception ( get to know fellow attendees prior to the start of the Summit)
  • March 7th - Networking Reception (continue conversations and compare notes after the first day)
  • Networking Breaks (30 minutes to allow time for a phone call, cup of coffee, and conversation)
  • Lunch Roundtables (attendee-led discussions on topics you told us were important to you)




Bring The Summit to Your Gemba With Live Streaming!

LEI will be broadcasting the summit online. Now you and your team can attend this year's summit virtually.



Pre-Summit Workshops

In-depth one- and two-day sessions help you build practical skills for addressing Fundamentals issues as well as new ones you will encounter during a lean transformation. For more information on Pre-Summit Workshops click here.

This year's Pre-Summit Workshops are:



Register for the Summit online by clicking the button above or call 617-871-2900 between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.


Repeat Attendee Discount

If you previously attended the Lean Transformation Summit (any year from 2007 through 2011), you will receive an additional $350 off as appreciation for your continued support of LEI's nonprofit mission to spread lean thinking. No code needed - the discount will automatically be applied to your registration.


Team Discount

For groups from the same company, every 5th person's summit registration is free! (Pre-summit workshops are not included.) Please call 617-871-2900 to register your group and receive this discount.



$2,500 USD
The registration fee includes participation in the Summit, participant materials, and food for both days.

Pre-Summit Workshops are available to Summit attendees on March 7th & 8th for an additional fee. Breakfast and lunch are included.


Confirmation, Cancellations, and Substitutions

Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email. To receive a full refund, notice of cancellation must be received by February 10, 2012. Substitutions may be made at any time before March 6, 2012.

If you have any further questions please contact the Lean Enterprise Institute at 617-871-2900 or summits@lean.org.


In medical device manufacturing, the focus is traditionally on innovation, not operations. But Medtronic, a $16-billion global leader in medical technology, realized that it had to do both.

Beginning in 2003, the company began an enterprise-wide continuous improvement journey, based on a common Lean Sigma platform. In 2009, it began deploying the Medtronic Operating System (MOS), based on the lean model developed by the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence. A key piece of the system is collaboration among sites, many of which had launched individual lean efforts prior to 2003, in order to spread best practices across the company. In this session, Greg Johnson, senior director of Medtronic Process Solutions, will explain:

  • The role of the Operations Council in creating a standard lean operating system from among the individual efforts at various facilities
  • How the MOS documents conditions at each facility and enables collaboration and sharing best practices
  • How best practices are selected for companywide implementation
  • How the lean effort was launched without a "burning platform"
  • How MOS builds cultural and operational excellence through both breakthrough projects and daily improvements
  • How plant managers have been accelerating the lean journey since 2009

Jacksonville Lean Consortium

The Jacksonville Lean Consortium has amplified its emphasis on learning-by-doing. Monthly lean leader meetings have moved into a problem-solving mode. Leaders at the host plant or office, instead of sharing a presentation on what's been done, now describe a problem to the group, which applies the scientific method of plan-do-check-act to begin developing countermeasures immediately.

"To me that is one of the biggest benefits of the consortium," said Founder Jerry Bussell, a former Medtronic vice president, who launched the consortium in 2003. "Getting people with experience to help you solve a problem is invaluable." The consortium also has launched a popular series of presentations by CEOs and thought leaders aimed at getting more C-level executives involved in a company's lean leap.

The consortium also trains lean facilitators for member companies through classroom study, coaching, and participation in member-run improvement events. The facilitators return to their organizations ready to drive the local lean effort forward. "The consortium helps these companies fish for themselves," Bussell explained. Take a step toward fishing for yourself by learning how to drive collaborative learning when you return to work. Bussell will share information from his nine-year learning curve of sharing knowledge so you know:

  • Why collaborative continuous improvement events among companies is an especially powerful way to motivate employees and managers
  • Why and how the consortium move lean leader meetings from sharing presentations to sharing PDCA experience
  • How to foster knowledge sharing among a variety of industries, including business, government, service, and nonprofit organizations
  • How to structure collaboration so the more advanced lean companies benefit from less experienced partners as well as vice versa
  • What to do and what not to do to develop effective facilitator training
  • How to apply lean concepts to government


HVN (Healthcare Value Network) is a peer-to-peer, collaborative learning community of healthcare leaders committed to lean transformation as part of their organizational strategy. Founded in 2009 as a partnership between the Lean Enterprise Institute and ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, HVN's core purpose is "learn, share, and connect." Members come together to exchange ideas and accelerate each other's lean efforts. In this plenary, Dr. John Toussaint, CEO of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, will share the work of HVN as well as some of the transformation stories of member organizations.

While president and CEO of ThedaCare (2000-2008), Toussaint introduced the ThedaCare Improvement System (TIS), derived from the Toyota Production system, a model of continuous improvement that helped save millions of dollars in healthcare costs by reducing patient errors, improving outcomes and delivering better quality care at a higher value. Today, he heads up a leadership team at HVN headed to make system-wide improvements in healthcare.

You'll get an inside look at:

  • The structure of the sharing and learning environment HVN has created across multiple organizations within the healthcare industry
  • The activities of HVN's peer-to-peer learning research consortium
  • How to call upon the voice of the customer
  • HVN's current experiment in tracking the value of such a learning network

Join HVN President and COO Helen Zak for a breakout panel discussion in which you will hear from select HVN members about the value of peer-to-peer learning, the progress they have made, and how they worked to accelerate one another's lean journeys.

Young President's Organization

If it weren't for the Young President's Organization's emphasis on information sharing, VIBCO may never have launched its lean transformation five years ago, declares Karl Wadensten, president of the Wyoming, RI-based designer and maker of electric, pneumatic, and hydraulic vibrators for industry and construction.

Confronted with stubborn production bottlenecks, Wadensten called a YPO contact. In an hour-long phone conversation, the fellow president described his own company's lean conversion. "He introduced me to lean as a strategy and business system; that's what I needed," Wadensten says. He also found a network of presidents who opened their plants for gemba visits. And in small group Forums, he found nonjudgmental peers, experienced in probing assumptions and using questions to help the inquiring president arrive — not at pat answer — but a deeper understanding of the real problem and insight to ultimately discover a sustainable solution.

In retrospect, without the peer-to-peer collaboration he found at YPO, Wadensten still might have launched a lean transformation. "But it would have taken a heckuva lot longer," he says. Join him for insider's insight into the collaboration techniques he has used to engage people at VIBCO. Wadensten will share:

  • How to encourage collaboration in the shop or office by building authentic relationships, not "pseudo relationships"
  • How to recognize and what to do about "circles of misunderstanding"
  • How to create a nonconfrontational sounding board of colleagues genuinely focused -- not on censure -- but on sharing knowledge and experience
  • How to manage so you play to people's strengths to give them the best chance to succeed
  • How to use the "I statement" during dialogues to support cooperation, while discouraging power plays or political maneuvering (this raises the bar for meetings very quickly)