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Who's Lean in TV & Film: Round 2 Voting

by Joshua Rapoza
November 22, 2013

Who's Lean in TV & Film: Round 2 Voting

by Joshua Rapoza
November 22, 2013 | Comments (0)

Here we are in the second round of Lean in TV & Film. In the last four weeks we’ve put the characters you think display elements of lean thinking head to head. The nominations were entertaining to say the least and the winners were determined by your votes.

Below are the winners of the first two weeks of the tournament, and now they have new opponents. Vote in each head to head to see who advances to the next round of the tournament.

leanscreen

Voting for this round has ended.  Click here to follow the progress of this contest

Match-up #1

Gregory House, M.D.

House (TV)

vs.

Kwai Chang Caine

Kung Fu (TV)

As noted by LEI faculty member Mike Rother, “The way to a goal is iterative.”  This couldn’t be illustrated better than when House and his team had a case.  Their treatments were often experimental; they had a theory about what was happening and some data to back it up.  Based on this info, they came up with a hypothesis, tried something, and observed the results.  Sometimes the experiment worked, sometimes it didn‘t.  PDCA at its best!

House and his team were also constantly asking the patient questions, searching patients’ homes or workplaces, tracking down family and friends to try to get answers.  House was the ultimate cynic (“Everybody lies”) and perhaps not the most polite, but he certainly was diligent.  Along those same lines, House loved identifying the root cause.  It kept him up at night.

Kwai Chang Caine lived a minimalist life of efficiency and effectiveness.  His movement and temperament were conservative (he chose his words very carefully), and he always increased his own capacity when the situation called for it.

His effort and output always matched the environment.  His efforts always satisfied the voice of the “customer.”  He represented a philosophy of one piece flow and just-in-time living.  Eliminating the need for excess supplies or holding of finished goods, he carried only what he needed and consumed only what was required.

Not one for sitting idly, Caine always went to where the work was taking place every day.  He was always on the move and when he stopped, he stopped to fix something.  He passed wisdom along to everyone he met, actively engaged in dialogue with people, and quickly implemented process improvements.

Gregory House, M.D. (House)
Gregory House, M.D.
House (TV)
 
70%
Kwai Chang Caine
Kung Fu (TV)
 
30%
Kwai Chang Caine (Kung Fu)

Match-up #2

Al Borland

Home Improvement (TV)

vs.

Snoopy

Peanuts Specials (TV)

Al’s job was to reel Tim Taylor back from the brink of disaster.  He was always looking for ways to improve things, and, if you recall, he always had a standard way of doing things.  He was a master at standard work.

As we saw in the scenes set in the shop, Al also knew the value of 5S.  He was “Green” and Tim made fun of him for that.  Interestingly, Al didn‘t argue back.  He just cited the facts in order to settle disputes in a respectful manner.  Unlike Tim, Al took his relationships seriously and was respectful of others.

Snoopy totally embodies lean thinking as he is well known for looking for the easy way to do things, thinking outside the box, creativity, and generally being supportive of his friends.  NASA has even named an award after him, an honor given to those who achieve “safety and mission success.”

He’s often used as a mascot for communications, too.

Al Borland (Home Improvement)
Al Borland
Home Improvement (TV)
 
74%
Snoopy
Peanuts Specials (TV)
 
26%
Snoopy (Peanuts Specials)

Match-up #3

Sheldon Cooper

The Big Bang Theory (TV)

vs.

Charlie

Kinky Boots (Film)

Sheldon is a master of 5S and Standard Work, as you can tell from the lab and apartment layout.  He is rock solid on schedules and takt times, he always does root cause analysis, and he uses the scientific method for problem solving.  In the episode called “The Worksong Nanocluster,” (Season 2, Episode 18) Sheldon essentially performs a kaizen on the process the character Penny uses to make “Penny Blossoms.”

On the downside, he is not the most effective manager.  Still, he seems to implicitly understand one piece flow, structured brainstorming, and the value of experimentation (to some extent).

In the film Kinky Boots, Charlie inherits a floundering shoe manufacturing company from his father.  He has the option of laying off staff and closing the doors or identifying a need and filling it.

Charlie uses interactive design by collaborating with his customer base and creating multiple prototypes.  He engages his team and challenges the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” attitude to solve design problems from the customer‘s perspective.  He also sets forth the expectation of near perfect quality for his new product launch and works on the shopfloor with his team to get it there.  Sounds lean to me.

He even goes as far as marketing his line of boots aimed at drag queens by wearing them himself at a fashion show.

Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)
Sheldon Cooper
The Big Bang Theory (TV)
 
83%
Charlie
Kinky Boots (Film)
 
17%
Charlie (Kinky Boots)

Match-up #4

Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones Movies (Film)

vs.

Coach Eric Taylor

Friday Night Lights (TV)

“Indy” is perhaps the king of just-in-time production/activity.  Whether catching a float plane, avoiding blades that would slice his head off, or grabbing his signature fedora from the other side of an ancient door that is about to crush him, he always manages to complete the task just when he needs to, not a second before.  Steven Spielberg painted a pretty good picture of JIT when we see the fedora being grabbed at the last possible second.  Any earlier, it wouldn’t be such a great dramatic moment; any later, and the movie ends in the first 20 minutes.

No one goes to the gemba quite like Dr. Jones.  Whether it is a tomb or a jungle or a tomb in the jungle, he goes to where the work is (in this case was) done. His ability to grasp the situation, solve problems (or puzzles), often with the materials he had on hand (for example a bag of sand to counterbalance the treasure’s weight), shows that he has the capability for lean thinking.  That is, unless the problem involves snakes.

“Winning is not the goal, it’s the RESULT of doing the right things, in the right way, at the right time,” Coach Taylor is known for saying.  Taylor has many of the elements that make good coaches great, especially in the lean world.  He always visits the gemba, and if he can’t make it, he uses whatever tools he can get his hands on to grasp the situation, for example, game footage of the opposing team.  Taylor is also remarkably organized, which helps eliminate distractions and keep everyone focused on the process.  He establishes standard work for coaches and players and regularly performs PDCA to improve upon it.

What stands out more than anything else is Coach Taylor’s ability to recognize mistakes as opportunities for learning.  He even uses some of his own errors to teach his team.

Indiana Jones (Indiana Jones Movies)
Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones Movies (Film)
 
65%
Coach Eric Taylor
Friday Night Lights (TV)
 
35%
Coach Eric Taylor (Friday Night Lights)

Stay tuned next week when we see the winners from weeks three and four go head to head!

Tell us, what elements of lean thinking do you wee showing up more often?  What elements of lean thinking and practice are harder to practice or see (in TV and film or in real life)?

In case you missed it, here’s a snapshot of the full tournament brackets. Download as a PDF

Download bracktes as PDF file

Tell your friends and colleagues. Tweet#leanscreen

(The copyright for the images used as part of the series are held by the image right holders. LEI makes no copyright claim on these images.)

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
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