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We Called for Your Questions on Lean, Here's What Happened

by Lex Schroeder
March 7, 2014

We Called for Your Questions on Lean, Here's What Happened

by Lex Schroeder
March 7, 2014 | Comments (3)

Earlier this week, Pat Curtin (from Food Bank For New York City) and I had the opportunity to run an Open Space session at this year's Lean Transformation Summit.

We've run Open Space sessions at LEI summits in years past, but never with ALL of our attendees or such a large group. At this summit, we used Open Space to try to have a conversation (12 separate conversations actually, plus one really big conversation) with over 450 people. Open Space is one way we try to listen to you, our customer, and one way we aim to support you in having the conversations about Lean that you really want to have because we know that's where the magic is--when lean practitioners have a chance to just talk and connect with each other.

Here's what happened. We asked up to 12 of you to volunteer conversation topics related to Lean that you think others may want to talk about as well. 12 of you indeed had topics/questions you wanted to offer the larger group. You shared the following:

1. How do team leaders get enough time to problem solve when they are totally immersed in the daily work of firefighting?

2. Growing lean leaders in a process adverse culture.

3. Applying Lean into knowledge work... What metrics help make the work visible and indicate productivity?

4. How do we get senior level engagement in Lean when it doesn't exist?

5. Strategy deployment... How do we get started? What should we expect?

6. How can corporations better support and develop lean specialists that drive change within their organizations?

7. How do we deliver complex work instructions in a just-in-time fashion?

8. How to overcome leaders' mindsets of "we are too busy for Lean"?

9. How to manage multiple projects.

10. Running a daily huddle meeting with direct reports.

11. Let's clarify some conflicting information about Lean that has been shared.

12. How do we suggest process improvement to someone who needs no help? How do we handle nay-sayers?

Interestingly, all of these conversations drew about the same number of people. From what Pat and I heard, most groups had active participation from those who attended.

At the end of this Open Space session, hosts shared their learning (stay tuned for these take-aways next week on the Post). This year, we'd like to keep these conversations going on The Lean Post. For Post readers, which topics above are most interesting to you? Which of these things have you experienced yourself, or how would you respond to these questions? Which topics would you like faculty and authors explore in greater depth? Which topics would you add to this list?

If you called one of these conversations or participated in one or more of them--some folks moved from conversation to conversation--what was most interesting or helpful to you? What did you like about Open Space? What didn't you like? Are you going to take this tool back with you to your organization? Why or why not?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
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3 Comments | Post a Comment
Kelly Moore March 07, 2014
5 People AGREE with this comment
I would welcome learning more  about any of the above questions.  Questions 3 - 6 resonated with me and reflects where my company is on its journey.

3. Applying Lean into knowledge work... What metrics help make the work visible and indicate productivity?

4. How do we get senior level engagement in Lean when it doesn't exist?

5. Strategy deployment... How do we get started? What should we expect?

6. How can corporations better support and develop lean specialists that drive change within their organizations?

If I chose just one, I would choose #3. This is the area where I experience the most resistance.

-Kelly

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Mark Graban March 07, 2014

I really enjoyed the Open Space format and the discussion went really well in the group I coached. I hope LEI continues with this format at other events and even expands its use. I think it's a good idea to have an Open Space session each day...

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daniel markovitz March 07, 2014
3 People AGREE with this comment
I'd love to hear more about #1 -- finding time for problem solving (and, writ large, finding time for lean). I hear all the time that people barely have enough time for doing their daily work to say nothing of improvement. 

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