Home> James P. Womack Scholarship & Philanthropy Fund

James P. Womack Scholarship & Philanthropy Fund

JPW Fund

LEI was established as a publishing, education, and research organization with a mission to advance lean thinking and practice throughout the world to make things better for individuals, organizations, and society. Its founder, Dr. James Womack, established LEI as a not-for-profit organization to ensure that as the LEI community learned and created new knowledge it would be made available to the public to improve people’s lives.   

“……the heart of any management education must be on the gemba, directly engaging the people doing the actual value-creating work. So instead of analyzing problems and jumping to solutions quickly without gemba knowledge, schools need to find gemba on a continuing basis for every student and to take every student through extended cycles of hoshin, A3, and daily management.”

-Jim Womack in Planet Lean, March 2017 

While progress has been made over the past 20 years, many in the lean community see gaps in the depth, breadth, and spread of lean thinking. 

  1. We have not seen the scale or magnitude of lean transformations we hoped to see,
  2. The education system does not provide enough opportunities for students to learn, practice, and conduct research into lean thinking, and
  3. We can do more to spread lean thinking to address societal problems and improve peoples’ lives.

The JPW Fund will support LEI’s goal to advance lean thinking, practice, and knowledge creation by supporting educational institutions and Gemba-based learning experiences. The learning experiences will develop the next generation of lean thinkers and practitioners, develop new lean knowledge, and improve teaching methods. Learners will apply the key concepts of lean thinking and management to improve the delivery of services at community-based organizations whose mission is to improve peoples’ lives. 

To create innovative learning experiences the JPW Fund will:

  1. Partner with educational institutions to develop lean knowledge centers – universities, community colleges, and vocational tech schools,
  2. Partner with community organizations that will use lean thinking to improve the delivery of services and serve as a learning gemba,  
  3. Provide tuition assistance and grants to teaching faculty and students to learn, practice, and research lean thinking
  4. Measure success via improved lives, new classroom and gemba learning experiences for students, and research leading to case studies, articles, videos, courses, and peer reviewed publications.

“Doing this would require schools to develop long-term relations with those organizations supplying gemba experience and to become, effectively, their centers of management training. This seems like a steep hill to climb but I don’t think it’s crazy.”

Jim Womack in Planet Lean, March 2017
To provide the resources needed to establish and sustain the JPW Fund, LEI will seek support from its community of lean learners, corporate sponsors, and foundations who share Jim Womack’s vision and LEI’s mission to make things better.  

By summer 2019, the program will be supported by a website that will provide information on how to apply for funding and how to donate. It is our hope to fund three learning experiments in partnership with three educational institutions and three community service organizations by September 2019.

We welcome your feedback as we plan the launch of the JPW Fund. If you have ideas to share or want to learn more, please contact John O'Donnell at 617 871-2900 or email us at JPWFund@lean.org

If you would like to donate to support our launch, please send checks or money orders made out to JPW Fund at LEI and mail to: 
Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc.
27-43 Wormwood Street
Tower Point, Suite 410
Boston, MA 02210