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2017 Lean Transformation Summit
March 7-8, 2017  |  Carlsbad, CA
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  • workshops are still open for registration
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    waiting list does NOT guarantee entry to the event

Managing To Create Problem-solvers

Each year lean thinkers from dozens of industries, at every stage of their journey, gather the Lean Transformation Summit to learn, share, and network.

Our goal is to improve our summit every year. We do this by listening to attendees, and the lean community at large. The two biggest requests from last year were more time for networking and more focus on Management and Creating a Culture of Problem Solvers. So this year we've designed a summit with just that, we’re bringing you some of the best and most innovative Management Systems, and showing how problem solvers are created.

The 2017 Lean Transformation Summit is taking place on March 7-8 at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa. This beautiful location in sunny Carlsbad, California is ideal to meet other lean thinkers, learn, enjoy the calm and quiet without all the noise and distraction from the city. 

What can you expect from the 2017 Lean Transformation Summit?

  1. Learning you can apply when you return to work Monday morning.
  2. Unbeatable networking opportunities
  3. Motivation to improve/charge your battery

We intentionally limit the size of our summit to maintain an intimate feel and allow for unique network opportunities. We do not want you to feel like a huge group, we want you to have a personalized experience, and we make every effort to accomplish this.

New! Special Sessions

This year join us early on Sunday March 5th, for one-of-a-kind learning and networking opportunities before the summit. Space for these Special Sessions are very limited.

  • Take a behind the scenes tour
    at the San Diego Safari Park
  • Network and Golf outing with TaylorMade
  • Join John Shook for a series of Lean Talks

Learn more about these special sessions and register.

Last year we sold out in record time and we expect this year will sell out even faster. So please register while we still have space.

Plenary & Breakout Sessions | Learning Sessions | Networking Opportunities | Fees | Volunteer Day | Pre-Summit Workshops


This year we are taking a deep dive into Management Systems that develop Problem Solvers. It is very hard to have one without the other. But how do we make them stronger? It’s easy to say “Innovation” is the way, but “Innovation” is very difficult to achieve.

Lean thinking itself was an innovation (new and valuable) and an improvement over what preceded it (and what still exists in so many places) that contains within itself the means of further innovation and improvement. Innovation is also adaptation, iteration, and disruptive.

Join LEI’s CEO and Chairman, John Shook as he shares his unique views of what true innovation is and how it drives management systems that create problem solvers.

20 years ago Jim Womack founded LEI with the goal of spreading lean thinking around the world. Now lean thinking is being practiced across the globe by millions of people in tens of thousands of companies. But with what results?
In this special keynote presentation Jim will share his unique understanding of the past 20 years and his hopes for the next 20. He will focus in particular on the role of daily management, when properly understood, in stabilizing every value stream. This creates the essential foundation for sustainable results through kaizen (guided by A3 thinking) and for bold innovations (guided by hoshin planning) to achieve dramatic and enduring gains in every organization.


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Plenary & Breakout Sessions

A New Addition! Turner Construction Company

Imagine a business where every year requires you to set up and run over 1,000 new temporary factories located around the world. Each operates anywhere from several months to several years or more with a temporary local workforce that could number in the thousands. These temporary factories have a supply chain stretching around the globe in order to fabricate, assemble, and deliver just one unit of a unique bespoke product that has never been produced before and never will again that could range in cost from hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions of dollars. 

This is the world of Turner Construction Company, a North America-based, international construction services company founded in 1902. With nearly 1,500 active projects each year and an annual construction volume of $11 billion, Turner is the largest builder in the United States and a leader across all major segments of building including healthcare, education, commercial, industrial, and sports. 

Join James P. Barrett, vice president and chief innovation officer, of Turner as he discusses how they are adapting the principles, methods and tools of lean to the unique challenges of construction and the lessons learned so far in their journey to transform their organization and the industry.

James Barrett
James Barrett


Twenty-two years ago, the three Ci&T founders chose the company’s name to represent its core principles: Collaborate, Innovate, and Transform. Today, Ci&T is a global company with 2,500+ employees, providing digital technology services that enable customers like Coca-Cola, Google, Johnson & Johnson, and Walmart to take advantage of continuous waves of technology-based transformations. In order to navigate a rapidly changing environment while maintaining a high growth rate (over 35% YoY), Ci&T started on a  lean journey in 2007, embracing lean as its core management system, covering the work of 100% of the company’s employees.

In this session, Ci&T co-founders Cesar Gon, global CEO, and Bruno Guicardi, president of North America, will show you how the transformation began at the senior level with hoshin kanri and evolved to encompass all employees worldwide across delivery teams and support areas. Ci&T is again drawing on the principles of collaboration, innovation, and transformation by helping its customers to incorporate lean principles into their own management cultures and operational models. For Ci&T, lean is the foundation of a consistent and sustainable digital transformation.

César Gon
César Gon
Bruno Guicardi
Bruno Guicardi


In the early 1990s Lantech was a poster child for the power of high-speed kaizen and continuous improvement, as described in Chapter 6 of Lean Thinking. But, once the dramatic conversion from process villages to single-piece-flow was completed, Lantech found it hard to sustain its gains and to improve further. In this presentation CEO Jim Lancaster will describe his experience overcoming this huge lean hurdle with  a management process that sustains gains in each value stream allowing the improvement process to accumulate competitive advantage and facilitates bold leaps in strategy.

Jim pursued the simple idea that if the daily performance of every value creating process is visible in real time by the right people, and if any deterioration in performance is counter-measured immediately, a stable foundation can be created for further improvement. (This in contrast to the familiar phenomenon of kaizen on top of chaos.)

In addition, if daily and weekly walk around reviews (WAR) involving every level of management put a steady cadence into improvement activities and strategic initiatives they are much more likely to succeed. Jim will share the success and traps he experienced implementing and maintaining this management system along with the results to date. We now know that every organization must find its own way, through experimentation, to the best lean management system for its circumstances. This presentation will be both provocative and helpful to managers currently engaged in their own search.

Jim Lancaster
Jim Lancaster


Since its founding in 2006, SBP has grown from a three-person volunteer team into a nationally recognized leader in disaster recovery. By developing a unique construction model based on the Toyota Production System (TPS), vertical integration, and volunteerism, SBP has rebuilt high-quality homes faster and cheaper than market rates for more than 1,200 families after natural disasters in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA; Staten Island and Rockaway, NY; Joplin, MO; Monmouth/Ocean Counties, NJ; San Marcos, TX; Columbia, SC; and White Sulphur Springs, WV.

But to apply TPS principles successfully to rebuilding homes, SBP had to rebuild its culture from traditional top-down management to one where questions at every level are encouraged and discussed. The transformation began with the senior management team developing “core ethos” of what SBP was. The end result was a new way of working and behaving known as “constructive discontent.”

In this session and the following 90-minute breakout, you’ll learn: How a culture of constructive discontent positions people to succeed by establishing high expectations with clear accountability and support that encourages everyone at every level to discuss and solve problems; why people make decisions based on identity rather than rational choice and how this can help your TPS transformation efforts; how to use a framework for culture change that goes hand-in-hand with implementing TPS’s technical elements; how to coach for problem solving. And in the breakout, you’ll form small groups to actually practice coaching skills.


Zack Rosenburg
Zack Rosenburg

Scripps Health

In this unique presentation, you’ll learn how Scripps Health has adapted and evolved lean management system tools and practices (also known as Value by Design) across its five campuses to anchor improvement efforts. These are all very different hospitals with different challenges, which meant the one-size-fits-all approach would be a disaster. Adaptation was crucial to success.

Cindy Steckel, VP, chief nursing and operations executive, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, and Alexie Nguyen, MD, medical director, Hospitalist Program, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, will share

 “A Tale of Two Hospitals: Reflections from a Nurse and a Doc on the Challenges of Leading System-Wide Change.” Learn from the perspectives of two executives who have led and participated in lean transformation efforts over the last three years.

Alexie Nguyen
Alexie Nguyen
Cindy Steckel
Cindy Steckel

The Four Types of Problems

When faced with a problem many leaders or teams tend to reach repeatedly for the same tool – A3, 5 Whys, value-stream mapping -- creating unnecessary struggle, frustration, and ineffectiveness in solving the problem – if it is solved at all.

The reason is that in problem solving one tool does not fit all. Problems fall into four broad categories, each requiring different improvement methods, thought processes, and management cadence, according to Toyota veteran Art Smalley, author of the new book The Four Types of Problem Solving. The four principle types are:

  1. Troubleshooting: Fixing problems rapidly, often with temporary measures.
  2. Gap-from-standard: Solving problems in relation to existing standards or conditions.
  3. Target-State Oriented: Achieving new, better standards or conditions.
  4. Innovation: Pursuing a vision, such as new products, processes, services, or systems.

In this session, you’ll learn:

  • How mastering the nuances and differences between each problem type helps you improve as a leader and deliver superior results in your lean transformation.
  • How to truly engage everyone in problem solving and continuous improvement and how these practices align with Toyota’s shop-floor management development system and team leadership.
  • What is the critical relation between daily management and team leadership that most lean organizations are failing to decipher and model correctly.
  • How to apply a problem-solving framework that is easy for beginners to grasp yet useful even for advanced practitioners.
  • How to use the framework at the office or shop floor.
Art Smalley
Art Smalley

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Learning Sessions

Open All Close All
5 Key Financial Outcomes from Lean Thinking

Ask uninformed managers about the benefit of lean management and they will say cutting costs and inventory reduction.  Ask deeply engaged lean managers, and they will say culture and value. They’re both right! In this workshop, Jean Cunningham, a recognized pioneer in lean accounting, will show you the connection between lean management principles and 5 critical improvements in financial performance.  

Jean will share examples from each of the 5 areas and show you how to use “the profit model,” a visual template for describing to colleagues, team members, and senior leaders how specific lean efforts positively affect bottom-line drivers.

You’ll learn:

  • How to apply the profit model to your specific situation.
  • How to explain the ways that lean management actually accelerates improved financial performance.
  • On a deeper level, how lean is not just about cost cutting and savings, but about growth.
  • What short and long-term financial outcomes to expect from the changes being made.
  • How to more effectively describe lean management’s positive financial impact whether you are a manager, financial professional, executive, or lean leader at any level.
Applying Lean Practices to Engineering: an Experimental Approach
Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Enterprise: How Lean Innovation balances learning with execution throughout the enterprise.
It's a Zoo! Building Trust and Creating Problem Solvers at San Diego Zoo Global
Lead with Respect: Lean Leadership that Enables Engagement, Teamwork, and Accountability
Lean Culture Transformation at Toys 'R Us: “It’s Just What We Do.”
Mindfulness: A Research-Based Way to Supercharge Your Lean Thinking, Practice, and Results
Personal Kanban
Surfing, Creating, and Sustaining a Lean Culture
Sustaining a Problem-Solving Culture at TaylorMade
The Lean Bakery - Better Customer Service Through Problem Solving
Understanding and Implementing a Continuous Improvement Culture in Any Organization

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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 6: Welcome Happy Hour (get to know fellow attendees prior to the start of the Summit)
  • March 7: 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)

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Volunteer Day

Thursday, March 9th

Last year LEI and summit attendees had the opportunity to volunteer their time and elbow grease to help a good cause in Las Vegas at Veterans Village. This year we are going to carry-on that tradition.

Join us in assisting I Love A Clean San Diego for a coastal clean-up event at Carlsbad State Beach Park Learn more »

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Pre-Summit Workshops

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

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$2,500.00 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 Monday, March 6th for an additional fee. Breakfast and lunch are included.

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Ultra-Early Registration Discount
A very limited number of attendees who register by December 18, 2016, will receive $600.00 off. No code needed – the discount will automatically be applied to your registration.
Early Registration Discount
If you register by January 31, 2017, you will receive $300.00 off. 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.
*Discounts cannot be combined with any other offers.

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Confirmations, Cancelations, and Substitutions

Once registered for the Summit or for Pre-Summit Workshops, you will receive a confirmation email. To receive a full refund, notice of cancelation must be received by February 6, 2017. After this date, cancelations will be subject to a non-refundable $350.00 cancelation fee. Substitutions may be made at any time before March 7, 2017.
If you have any further questions please contact the Lean Enterprise Institute at 617-871-2900 or summits@lean.org.

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Workshops: $800 USD
$600 for conference attendees

Special Sessions priced separately

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