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What Do I Tell My Leaders When Experiments Fail?
By: John Drogosz | August 23, 2016
Columns
When experiments fail, it's natural for a leadership team to get nervous. But in the context of lean, they shouldn't be - it's just a matter of managing their expectations and helping them understand that a "failure" is actually a blessing in disguise. John Drogosz explains how to do this. More »
Make Broccoli (Or Lean) Taste Better Through Experiments
By: Brent Wahba | January 9, 2015
Columns
"Whether it’s eating healthy, saving for retirement, or pursuing Lean, we are all biased towards maximizing the here and now as opposed to working towards a better future payout," writes Brent Wahba. "We’ve got a lot work to do to make Lean simpler, easier, and more successful for the masses.  " More »
After Lean Progress, Fighting the Challenges of Backsliding
By: Nicolas Chartier | January 31, 2020
Columns
After accepting the tough challenge of reducing deliver lead-time, CEO Nicolas Chartier and their entire team learned "to react at the first sign of backsliding and grit our teeth and never, never agree to lower the bar.  " More »
WLEI: 23. Lean Accounting Panel Discussion with Art Byrne, Jean Cunningham, Jim Huntzinger, Nick Katko, and Mike DeLuca
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | November 18, 2019
Audio
Many lean thinkers find the traditional accounting reporting completely out of alignment with the new lean management system.   Part of PDCA is checking outcomes to help identify next steps, but if the financial language of business is not reliable to provide good information for evaluation and decision making, sustainment of good experiments is at risk.   Is there a better way? Yes, according to the five panelists on this week’s podcast.  Additional Articles:How lean accounting promotes lean in the organizationProfit and Cost At ToyotaCost Saving is Tired--Value Creation is Hot!Real Number bookThe Value Add Accountantbook More »
Overcoming a Fear Of Failure Culture
By: Andrew Quibell | November 6, 2019
Columns
Managers and teams can overcome the elements of a fear of failure culture, argues Andrew Quibell. His piece illustrates steps to tackle this important challenge. More »
The Power of Inspiration
By: Paige Henry | October 23, 2019
Columns
Lean thinker Paige Henry shares a call to action: let’s get our leaders and people to realize “it’s about the think” to prevent problems happening in the first place, and when they do, that we need to enable them to think of multiple countermeasures rather than going with the solution that “they’ve seen/used a million times before.  ” More »
No Mani Pedi, But Keepers Improve Elephant Foot Washing
By: Jeff Foster | March 1, 2019
Columns
Supporting process owners includes stepping in for zoo keepers when their better idea for washing an elephant’s foot gets rejected as this Lean Talks video explains. More »
Getting Started with Lean Product and Process Development
By: Andy Houk | November 9, 2018
Columns
Learning and applying the concepts of LPPD is no different than learning any other new skill in life, says Andy Houk. In this article he shares his personal learning cycle of three steps (repeated many times, over many years): self-study, getting a coach, and practicing. More »
Cardboard, Duct Tape, and String: The Do-First Mindset
By: Mark Reich | August 15, 2018
Columns
Whatever field you work in, if you are responsible for kaizen in your company, strive for quick change in your workplace by finding your cardboard, duct tape, and string, says lean coach Mark Reich. More »
Tending the Roots of Lean with Lean Farmer Ben Hartman
By: Matthew Savas | July 10, 2018
Columns
Matt Savas shares the Lean roots found at Ben Hartman's Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, illustrating the many ways that lean has eliminated waste More »
Lean Principles Are the Bread & Butter of this Retail Transformation
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | January 4, 2018
Columns
Entrepreneurs explain how their chain of bakeries and retail stores used lean continuous improvement to profitably expand, engage employees, and meet growing customer demand for healthier products. More »
Ask Art: Does lean compromise innovation?
By: Art Byrne | June 14, 2017
Columns
To some, lean and innovation seem counterproductive. But Art Byrne is not one of them. Find out why he says "lean and innovation are and have always been completely compatible" and how it can help your organization reach next-level results. More »
PDCA thinking and the NCAA March Madness tournament
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | April 4, 2017
Columns
"There is so much thinking that goes into this thing called 'Bracketology,' which gives sports fans a way to 'grasp the situation' of their favorite team (or the one they may be cheering for at tournament time)," write Tracey and Ernie Richardson. Ad a lot of that thinking may have more in common with lean than you might expect. Read more. More »
Thinking About Thinking
By: AsapSCIENCE & Mike Rother | December 4, 2016
Presentations
Don't believe everything you think. Practice scientific thinking and test your assumptions, because every step is an experiment! More »
Making Things Better - Visual Value in Health Information Management
By: Laura Shue | October 6, 2016
Columns
Have you ever struggled to make "invisible work" visual for your leadership? Laura Shue of the University of Michigan Health System certainly has - two years ago she tackled the formidable task of making the value of her Health Information Management department visual for their leaders. How she did it is a fascinating story - read more to see for yourself! More »
Why Yoda Was Wrong
By: Aaron Hunt | August 30, 2016
Columns
Aspects of lean can be found almost anywhere - even in a galaxy far, far away. Inspired by a new trailer for the upcoming Star Wars film "Rogue One," Aaron Hunt uses a lean mindset to debunk a very famous quote from the original trilogy. More »
Just Trying “Stuff” Is Not A Real Experiment
By: Brent Wahba | August 17, 2016
Columns
"Today it seems like you can’t throw a stick of butter without hitting someone who is “running a lean experiment” on one thing or another," writes Brent Wahba. The problem with all that experimentation? Many of these experiments are not real experiments at all. Read more. More »
Take Your Product Testing to the Extreme
By: Lean Leaper and Larry Navarre | June 23, 2016
Columns
Many of the principles of lean product and process development can seem counterproductive at first glance. For example, what if someone told you that the best way to see if a product will truly work.  ..  is to break it? That's exactly what Professor Larry Navarre of Kettering University tells his students, as part of his unlikely yet invaluable "Extreme Testing" concept. Read more. More »
More than a New Product – A New Way of Thinking
By: Jim Morgan | June 14, 2016
Columns
"Successful entrepreneurs, whether they are lone figures toiling in garages or supporting new work at major companies, are rightly celebrated for creating hit products," says Jim Morgan. "But what if there were something better, much better than creating a product in isolation?" Read more. More »
THE CHINESE FARMER
By: Narrated by Alan Watts | September 1, 2015
Presentations
Scientific thinking is about the limits of logical efforts. We organize and plan and try to create ideal situations, yet the larger picture is not accessible to us. The mind maneuvers, craves, thinks and plans how to obtain what we want and avoid what we don't like. But we can't control the future that way because there are too many factors. Every step we take is an interesting experiment. (Animation by Steve Agnos.  ) More »
2013 Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit
January 17, 2013
Events
June 5-6, 2013 - Orlando, Florida. Learn how innovative experiments are changing the way we deliver and pay for healthcare with a focus on value. More »
2012 Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit
January 16, 2012
Events
June 6-7, 2012 - Minneapolis, MN. Learn from thought leaders and pioneers forging new paradigms for the healthcare system. More »
Leadership Q&A: Dr. Jack Billi, associate dean and associate vice president for medical affairs
By: Marchwinski, Chet; | January 12, 2009
Articles
From the LEI senior executive series on lean leadership:Jack Billi, M.  D.  , associate dean for clinical affairs, University of Michigan Medical School, professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Education, and associate vice president for medical affairs,University of Michigan, is leading a lean transformation of the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS), which encompasses 18,000 employees, an 817-bed hospital, 100 clinics, and a medical school with 700 students, 1,000 residents, and 1,600 faculty physicians. (Read the Success Story about the lean transformation of UMHS, "Fighting Cancer with Linear Accelerators and Accelerated Processes.  ") More »
Creating Value or Shifting Wealth?
By: Womack, Jim; | May 1, 2008
Columns; eLetters
How do we judge the progress of the Lean Movement? One critical indicator is our success in extending lean thinking to new industries and activities. In recent years I have been greatly encouraged that lean thinking is moving far beyond its origins in manufacturing to distribution, retailing, maintenance and overhaul, consumer services, construction, and – perhaps most striking – healthcare. Indeed, the latter may be the most energetic area of lean practice today.  However, I have been concerned about our prospects for changing the thinking of investors, and specifically the giant private-equity investment firms that now control large parts of More »
Ten Years and Counting
By: Womack, Jim | October 23, 2007
Columns; eLetters
The Lean Enterprise Institute just celebrated its 10th anniversary with a small, private conference near our headquarters in Cambridge, MA. Surviving for a decade is no small accomplishment for a start-up organization and I take pride in our achievements:14 published titles with half a million copies sold in 14 languages.  24 workshops plus a management seminar.  13,000 participants educated in the workshops and seminar.  A series of memorable Lean Enterprise Summits, Lean Manufacturing Summits, and our current Lean Transformation Summits.  The Lean Enterprise Partners program where we conduct experiments on the best approach to a lean transformation.  Our website atwww.  More »
Creating Lean Dealers
By: David Brunt and John Kiff | October 15, 2007
Books
Car manufacturing has been transformed by Lean over the last 20 years yet car dealerships have remained virtually untouched by Lean. Now that’s changing. Dealerships experimenting with Lean have experienced a doubling of throughput, increases in productivity of 50% or more, and returns on sales several times the industry norm. These are not ‘freak’ results. They occur every time Lean principles are applied in a disciplined way – as has already been proven in sectors as diverse as banking, healthcare and grocery retailing. Creating Lean Dealers is a step-by-step guide to improving dealer operations, starting from service and repair. With More »
Kaizen or Rework?
By: Womack, Jim | August 22, 2007
Columns; eLetters
I recently visited a contract electronics manufacturer with a striking capacity for kaizen – the steady improvement of every step along its key value streams. Dozens of kaizen events were being performed across the company to eliminate wasted steps and to remedy quality, availability, adequacy, and flexibility problems in each value stream. At the same time, kaizen teams were trying to speed continuous flow and to perfect pull systems when flow was not possible.  The managers were pleased with their work and I had to admire both their technical skills and their enthusiasm for rapid improvement involving the employees touching More »
The Problem of Sustainability
By: Womack, Jim | May 30, 2007
Columns; eLetters
I recently got a call from an old friend who led one of the first lean implementation efforts in healthcare in the mid-1990s. He has moved on to other challenges and we hadn't had a chance to catch up in recent years. So I asked him what happened to the lean initiative in the healthcare organization where he had been a senior manager.  The answer was what I feared. "We created a lean improvement team and conducted a comprehensive campaign to kaizen the organization's key value streams. And we had dramatic results. Faster patient flows. Better outcomes. Lower costs. But More »
Standardized Worrying
By: Womack, Jim | April 26, 2004
Columns; eLetters
          Years ago when Dan Jones and I first visited Toyota in Japan, we were struck by something that seemed out of keeping with their continuing success.    They seemed to worry all the time.    We met managers who had just accomplished remarkable feats of muda removal during kaizen events and yet they couldn't seem to just relax and enjoy it.    Instead they were busy analyzing what they had just done and trying to think of ways it could be even better. Dan and I began to say to ourselves, "Even smiling is muda at Toyota.  "           More »
Lean Beyond the Factory
By: Womack, Jim | March 23, 2004
Columns; eLetters
I've been thinking a lot recently about just what a business really is.    As a lean process thinker, my best answer is that a business is a collection of value creating processes. Indeed, it's the sum of its processes.  Some of these are primary processes that directly create value for the customer, notably the product development process and the production process.    Others - the great majority - are support processes that no external customer values but which are essential if the primary processes are going to create the value the external customer does desire.    Examples include the More »
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