Nanook is the only character in this tournament who is an actual person, or was he? The documentary “Nanook of the North: A Story Of Life and
Love In the Actual Arctic” tried to capture what Inuit life is like in the Canadian Arctic. In its own way it was a pioneer of reality TV, as
the documentary had several staged sequences, and some of the people in it were essentially actors.
Why is Nanook lean? Well, he never produced more than he had to, nor did he produce before he had to. He eliminated waste and used all that
he took. Nanook had minimal household possessions: essentially two stone pots and two stone lamps, eliminating inventory and wasted space. He
dealt with problems as they arose and often improvised counter measures with just those materials he had on hand.
(To be honest when I first saw this nomination I thought it was a stretch, however there are definitely elements of lean thinking there.)
“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. The 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), showed that he had the capability for lean thinking. That is, unless the problem involved snakes.