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Transformation Summit 2015
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Forging ahead on the lean journey

"We are all trying to transform. That's what lean thinking and practice are all about: challenging us to reflect deeply on how we can improve this situation, improve my organization, or improve myself (and of course, all three.) Each of us knows from experience that this work is never easy. Whether you are toiling at the front line, struggling with your mid-level team, or fighting to transform your organization, this is tough work."

- John Shook, author, LEI Chairman and CEO

Lean transformations are not easy, the road is long, and unending if done correctly. Keeping your battery charged and your team excited about the changes is not only a difficult job but perhaps one that is forgotten at times.

It is this challenge that LEI's Lean Transformation Summit is built to counteract. Each year we bring outstanding examples of lean in a variety of industries at different points in their lean journeys from manufacturing, to healthcare, to services. They share their successes, their failures, and how lean has made things better.

In addition, we also give the lean community a chance to learn and share through offering compelling Learning Sessions, based upon struggles we see every day. In fact many companies use our annual summit as part of their training regime.

All of the presentations also focus on "What can you do Monday?" The purpose of our summit is to give you the knowledge to take back to your organization and experiment; it's how you can take something you've heard and turn it into something you've learned.

Plenary & Breakout Sessions | Learning Sessions | Networking Opportunities | Fees


At last year's Lean Transformation Summit, Margarette Purvis of the Food Bank For New York City shared one of the most inspirational lean success stories I have ever heard. 500 summit attendees felt the same so, on stage, I invited Margarette to come back next year to share progress and learnings. We are all lucky: she agreed and will join us for the 2015 Lean Transformation Summit March 4-5 in New Orleans!

What's more, she's bringing along Zack Rosenberg of New Orleans' St. Bernard Project. Remember Katrina? Like many lean thinkers, I imagine you have considered how the power of lean - just as it makes things better in day-to-day production work - could help in times of disastrous human need. Zack and St. Bernard Project have been there all along rebuilding the city by building and repairing houses damaged by the storm. And they've been doing it using exemplary lean practice, partnering with Toyota Production System Support Center.

What's more, you will have a chance apply the core lean thinking principle of HANDS ON, by actually helping Zack to BUILD A HOUSE, at our first Volunteer Day with Saint Bernard Project. Space is limited, so you'll need to sign up early for that activity. And, if you do, you can take advantage of this year's ultra-lean, ultra-early discount.

I look forward to seeing you all there,

John Shook
Chairman and CEO
Lean Enterprise Institute

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Plenary & Breakout Sessions

Food Bank for New York City with the Saint Bernard Group

Last year a lean star was born. That star was Margarette Purvis of the Food Bank for New York City. Her presentation about how she and her team learned to embrace kaizen, charged up the crowd and looked at new ways to measure success, most notably, dignity. This year Margarette returns to discuss how much more has changed, and how their partnership with Toyota has taken their capabilities (both of individuals and an organization) even further.

  The Saint Bernard Project, repairs homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina, as well as builds new ones for the people of New Orleans. At this special breakout the non-profit organization will share how their partnership with Toyota, has helped with their mission, from organizing and motivating workforces of both employees and volunteers, to finding out which problems to solve first. Their process has been so effective they are now operating in other regions to help with disaster recovery, and they still feel that there's much more improvement to be made.

Margarette PurvisSpeaker:
Margarette Purvis
Food Bank for NYC   Zach RosenburgSpeaker:
Zack Rosenburg
St Benard Group

Menlo Innovations

Culture change is not easy, in any company, any industry, any size. In this captivating presentation Rich Sheridan, author of Joy, Inc. - How We Built A Workplace People Love, and CEO of Menlo Innovations, will share what a joyful company looks like, feels like, how it is organized. Along the way, you will be confronted by paradoxical approaches of how workplace noise increases productivity, how two people at one computer outperforms hero-based organizations 10-to-1, how rigor and discipline emanate from a shared-belief system, how transparency conquers fear, how all of the disciplines you study including lean, agile, and six sigma when done well are really about building human relationships at the intersections of business and technology, between project management and software development, between development and design and how quality can be a natural result of a team built on trust.


Margarette PurvisSpeaker:
Richard Sheridan


Why would an increasingly successful 130 year old company, with $100 billion in annual sales change? And can it change?

Kroger's aim is to serve more customers with friendlier service and fresher products. In this presentation, you will hear how Kroger is experimenting with a new approach to achieving this aim. It starts with two simple questions. What is the work to be done? And how can it be done in a better way? To answer these questions, store teams are being developed to solve problems effectively and step-by-step, customer and employee experiences are improving, continuously. So are the business results, by the way.

People from different levels in the organization will share what is being done, and how it is changing everything. And this is just the beginning. So, regardless of your company’s size or age, we all have something to learn about experimenting and changing culture. Kroger is learning, and is excited to share!


Jeff AbateSpeaker:
Jeff Abate

The future of Lean is where Lean started, Toyota

Toyota has been breaking ground in lean manufacturing for more than 50 years. But did you know that the company has also been sharing the Toyota Production System (TPS) with nonprofit organizations like the Food Bank of New York and the St. Bernard Project of New Orleans to help them better serve their communities?

Twenty-five years ago Toyota established the Toyota Supplier Support Center (TSSC) to more deeply engage their supply base and strengthen supplier capabilities. Today, the company is sharing the Toyota Production System with other manufacturers, nonprofits and community organization to help them become more productive, more effective, and more successful.

What company shares its most precious know-how to anyone interested? What impact does this have on society, the manufacturing community and on Toyota itself?

Join Latondra Newton, Toyota’s North American Chief Social Innovation Officer, for a discussion about how Toyota is leveraging what it does best to give back to society. Learn about how the Toyota Way is helping to improve operations not just on the factory floor but in social innovation. Learn how the Toyota Production System has led the company to truly act upon its core purpose to serve -- not only shareholders and employees --but society as a whole.


Latondra NewtonSpeaker:
Latondra Newton


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Learning sessions

Developing Problem Solving Capabilities

Developing people in problem solving must become a big part of your job as a leader.
That means you need a repeatable and sustainable process for problem solving and for coaching people in problem solving at the gemba (where the work happens). You'll get both in this session. We'll focus on the steps on the left side of the A3 - clarify the problem, breakdown the problem, set targets, and analyze root causes.

We'll cover these critical coaching and problem-solving skills:

  • How to ask people questions about processes in such a way that they become engaged problem solvers, empowered to make improvements in their daily work.
  • How to align the questions you ask with key performance indicators such as quality, safety, productivity, and cost.
  • How to avoid the mistake of solving symptoms and instead focus on identifying root cause of problems so you implement effective and efficient countermeasures for standardization and sharing.
  • How to make the 4P's (People, Process, Purpose, Problem Solving) an infrastructure for success and long-term sustainability and growth.
  • A bullet-proof, 8-step problem-solving process
  • How to uncover measurable gaps between normal and abnormal conditions so problem solving thinking or the scientific method of Plan-Do-Check-Act becomes the all-important element that is the common lens everyone sees through.


SpeakerTracey Richardson

Facilitation Skills for Leading Successful Teams

Have you ever attended a meeting/work session where little was accomplished, you were frustrated and felt it was a waste of your time? Have you considered the true costs of meetings? Factoring in the time lost in other areas to attend meetings? Are the right people in the meeting?

As a leader of continuous improvement, you lead a lot of different teams and you know how important it is to have a defined process for predictable outcomes. Yet despite this belief, we may not effectively manage the team's valuable time in meetings which take up a large part of our workday.

Walk out of this workshop with practical tips, checklists and techniques that you can use immediately as a meeting leader, participant or facilitator.

Good meeting skills are essential for any collaborative effort and they enable teams to make decisions efficiently and effectively. This learning session will share the core meeting process to follow for running successful meetings that are shorter, more focused and yield desired outcomes.

  • Introduce the core meeting process framework for successful work sessions
  • Share the key elements for the 3 stages of the core meeting process framework - set up, conduct and follow through
  • Learn key facilitative behaviors to lead better work sessions


Speaker Alice Lee

The Green Beret Way to Develop Lean Leaders and Build a Legacy of Operational Excellence: The Leadership Secrets of the Elite U.S. Army Special Forces

Why are NFL teams and Fortune 500 companies studying the selection and training secrets of the famed Green Berets? Because the United States Army Special Forces or "The Green Berets" is the world's most elite and effective team based organization and is synonymous with a Culture of Excellence.

"The Green Beret," a symbol of Excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction..." Pres. John F. Kennedy

The "Green Beret Way" selection process, training, career-long development path, operating systems, and uncompromising culture of excellence produces leaders capable of winning hearts and minds in the most remote regions of the world. As civilians, Green Beret Leaders are reaching the highest levels of organizational leadership in the private sector and in public service. In order to build your organization's leadership pipeline with highly engaged, globally deployable leaders that will create a legacy of excellence for your company, high potential Lean Leaders require professionally challenging, experiential leadership development methods similar to today's Special Forces leaders.>

Retired Special Forces Commander and Director of Training and lean leadership expert Sam MacPherson will take you "Inside the Green Berets" to share how elite Special Operations Units select, train, develop Green Beret Leaders, operate their own Operational Excellence Systems, and Build a Culture that is synonymous with Excellence.

  1. The Critical Role of Leadership in leading a lean transformation and creating a "Legacy of Excellence" culture.

  2. Strategies for using the Special Forces Attributes and Selection criteria to identify and develop high potential, highly engaged Lean Leaders

  3. A comparison of Special Forces and Toyota leaders

  4. A comparison of the current state of the lean leadership development to Special Forces and Toyota career-long leader development
  5. Overview of the similarities between Special Forces and Toyota leadership and management methods and operational excellence systems
  6. Steps your organization can take to lead a Lean Transformation the "Green Beret Way!"


Speaker Sam MacPherson

Lean in Sales & Marketing

The purpose of this learning session is to highlight the business opportunities of applying Lean Thinking in Sales. During this time you will be exposed to the potential implementation of lean in sales by using John Shook's Lean Transformation Model.

The use of Lean Thinking in the sales and servicing of vehicles has been gaining momentum over the last few years. We now have examples of dealers in Norway, Brazil, South Africa, Switzerland, the Canary Islands and the U.K. applying Lean Thinking across their businesses drawing upon the research we published in our book "Creating Lean Dealers" in 2007. Whilst these organisations started in the service and repair areas of their businesses each has found that Lean Thinking applies to sales.

The use of lean in sales can be implemented beyond the car industry and the insights gained from the work done so far will be shared in this session.

Through instruction, small group discussions and exercises, participants will learn:

  • How lean thinking can be used to solve business problems.
  • How to see sales as a process - and measure the process.
  • The role of the sales manager in lean sales.
  • How sales can help develop a plan for every customer and a plan for every product.
  • How sales can help smooth the flow of operations.


Speaker David Brunt


Speaker Terry O'Donoghue

Designing Experiments Using Lean UX

The challenge for any lean company is creating products customers actually want, reducing cost, and eliminating waste in the process. The lean thinker does this in part through experimentation. LeanUX has developed a set of principles and methods for experimentation based on collaboration, customer research, problem space exploration, set-based design of solution hypotheses, and tight feedback loops. These approaches increasing the optionality in the product development pipeline while mitigating risk. As these  principles and methods in experimental design don't come naturally, they are very useful and valuable.

While PDCA, A3, and LAMDA have been used rigorously within operations and manufacturing, the LeanUX learning loop of Think > Make > Check > Learn applies many of these principles to designing new solutions in the context of knowledge work like software design in startups and enterprises.

This learning session will briefly explain the foundations and context of lean product and process development and LeanUX; the basics of inductive, deductive, abductive logic, as well as hypothesis formulation and testing across multiple, concurrent designed solutions. We'll also introduce a couple of simple methods for team-based, collaborative experiment design.

Finally, we'll draw connections between LeanUX methods and traditional lean learning loops including ideas from LPPD set-based concurrent engineering. Participants will leave with light-weight techniques they can use to run design experiments with their team the very next week.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn how human-centered design can be combined with Lean in the design process.
  • Exploring the boundaries and constraints of a problem space.
  • Complexity informed design thinking and how can it help with product design.
  • Collaborative methods to increase, integrate, and iterate options?
  • The design of simple, yet robust, experiments
  • Formulation of good metrics and measurement schemas for our experiments.
  • How to measure the learning from experiments.


SpeakerWill Evans

Making the Invisible Visible

The waste in the processes of knowledge workers often goes unnoticed for the simple reason it is incredibly difficult to see. Nowhere is this truer than in software development, where the work of frontline associates and management is often hidden and inaccessible to outsiders.

In this interactive session Tom Paider explores with participants how Nationwide, one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the United States, has solved this problem by creating a lean IT framework built on a culture of trust and transparency.

In this session participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of the transformation process experienced by thousands of Nationwide associates and hundreds of teams
  • Explore a system that uses visual management to drive lean thinking from the frontline associate to the c-suite
  • Delve into the implementation of a lean management system that sustains and improves the gains already made and ensures teams can deliver on time every time, within budget and with zero defects.

Join with other participants to hear why companies far and wide have made gemba trips to observe Nationwide's success


SpeakerTom Paider

Lean for Knowledge Work Using Personal Kanban: A 90 Minute Seminar

Whether we're in business, government, or health care, we tend to seek to optimize our processes, but no team can be optimized while the individual team members remain in a state of chaos. Unclear direction, overwork, lack of collaboration, and process fatigue can weigh down individuals and teams, causing sluggish performance, increased defects, and low morale.

This 90 minute class will introduce Lean principles and tools to better manage personal and project work to circumvent chaos, communication breakdowns, and low morale. Creator of Personal Kanban Jim Benson author for of the Shingo Award-winning book Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life, will introduce this Lean tool to understand, plan, and act on the options available to us, our teams, and our organizations.

The course will discuss:

  • The System of Profound Knowledge
    • An introduction to systems thinking, variation, and psychology as they apply to knowledge work.
  • Personal Kanban as a Personal Framework
    • We introduce Personal Kanban as a framework for understanding value stream maps, work-in-process limits, and cognitive theories such as single- and double-loop learning.
  • Visualizing Work
    • An introduction to the benefits of using a visual system for work completion, quality, reporting, collaboration, and peace of mind. We cover value stream mapping and the identification of work item types resulting in the creation of each attendees own Personal Kanban.
  • Limiting Work-in-Process
    • We discuss how to visualize the impacts of overwork, multitasking, context switching, and repetitive tasks. We discuss the Lean concept of flow, valuing completion with quality over simply starting tasks.
  • The Psychology of Work
    • We discuss the impacts of overwork, multitasking, context switching, and repetition on knowledge workers, as well as cognitive biases that impact effectiveness and planning.


SpeakerJim Benson

Technology as a Catalyst for Lean Innovation

How many products or services can you name in which Information and Communication Technology (ICT) does not add significant value in the conception, design, production, delivery, servicing, or ongoing customer experience and engagement?  

Now think about your own enterprise -- are you maximizing value from your technology investment and capabilities to engage and learn with your customers? To enhance creativity and collaboration? To improve speed to market? To defend your market share from startups?

The effective use of technology can be a key differentiator. In this learning session we'll explore how to better utilize existing ICT and make informed ICT investment decisions to optimize value for your customers and the enterprise.

Learning objectives:

  • How we can use technology to listen to the virtual voice of the customer, and nurture a value-adding relationship with them?
  • How do leading industrial companies integrate technology with their physical products (e.g. GE and Tesla) to improve customer experience and value?
  • How can Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) benefit from advanced methodologies and technologies (e.g. Agile/Scrum, extreme manufacturing, 3D printing)?
  • How can ICT enhance distributed collaboration (e.g. online team workspaces, electronic visual management and dashboards)?
  • How can leaders inspire and engage everyone to be an innovator?


SpeakerSteve Bell

Why Delivering Products Customers Actually Want Requires Great Process Creation

Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) is about creating profitable value streams. This includes designing all of the steps required to deliver your product or service to your customer with maximum value and minimum waste. Upon launch of a new product when Operations builds its first part, nearly 80% of the cost--and hence waste--has already been locked-in by the product and process designs. Unfortunately, many leaders choose to focus the majority of their improvement efforts post-launch. This breakout explores how to focus lean process design energy within the development system. The session is targeted at individuals who are involved in the design or operation of new products/processes and services.

You’ll learn:

  • Three barriers that hinder successful process designs for new products or services.
  • Countermeasures that will enable you to successfully create lean processes to increase value and avoid waste.
  • Iterative actions that make up lean process creation.
  • An example of the performance gap that effective lean process creation closes.
  • Ideas to help you start implementing on "Monday morning."

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SpeakerEric Ethington

SpeakerMatt Zayko




Networking Opportunities

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 3rd - Welcome Happy Hour (get to know fellow attendees prior to the start of the Summit)
  • March 4th - 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've told us are important to you)



$2,500 USD

The registration fee includes participation in the Summit, participant materials, and food for both days. If you need to be invoiced please call 617.871.2900.

Pre-Summit Workshops are available to Summit attendees on March 2nd and 3rd for an additional fee. Breakfast and lunch are included.

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If you register before January 30, 2014, you will receive $300 off. No code needed - the discount will automatically be applied to your registration.
  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.

*Discounts cannot be combined with any other offers.



Once registered for the Summit or for Pre-Summit Workshops, you will receive a confirmation email. To receive a full refund, notice of cancellation must be received by February 4, 2014. After this date, cancellations will be subject to a non-refundable $350 cancellation fee. Substitutions may be made at any time before March 5, 2014.

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

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