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3 Common Problems in Government that A3 Thinking Can Help Solve
By: Gavin Martin | September 1, 2016
Columns
I’m always surprised at how little the public sector uses A3 thinking to tackle their toughest challenges. It’s the same thing every time – the government often tries to solve symptoms, rather than analyzing root causes and establishing fixes for them. More »
5 Barriers to Lean in Government
By: Mark Minukas and Garrett Ulosevich | April 21, 2015
Columns
"There are many challenges for lean in government.  .. The structure of the workforce, disincentives for risk-taking at all levels, complex stakeholder relationships, the simple problem of challenging the status quo," according to Mark Minukas and Garrett Ulosevich. Still, they argue it's not impossible, offering readers tips on how to respond to the most common reasons people say, "it just won't work.  " More »
What Does "Waste" in Government Processes Mean Anyway?
By: James Phillips Jr. and William Journigan | October 8, 2014
Columns
"It is commonplace in the US Federal Government to see placards and signs admonishing us to be on guard for instances of 'Fraud, Waste, and Abuse (FWA)'.  .. [Whole] offices are devoted to reporting FWA violations," write James Phillips and Willie Journigan. But what constitutes waste in government processes? How do you identify and tackle it? More »
Lean Government
By: Jim Womack | June 26, 2014
Columns
"We in the Lean Community have no standing on whether a government should regulate any activity or provide any service," writes Jim Womack. "We can only make the humble suggestion that better decisions can be reached if the debate starts with a clear statement of the actual problem, followed by a structured process to identify and test countermeasures.  " More »
Japanese Cult Invades Saskatchewan Government
By: John Shook | March 20, 2014
Columns
Lean has become a political football in the normally congenial province of Saskatchewan. Read what John Shook has to say about the matter. More »
The Next Frontier: Lean Government
By: Daniel Jones | November 27, 2013
Columns
On a recent trip to Saskatchewan Dan Jones went looking for a Canadian healthcare example but in the process he stumbled upon what he believes is the next lean frontier: government. More »
Lean Thinking in Government: The State of Iowa
By: David Drickhamer | November 19, 2008
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
For several years the Iowa Veterans Home has used lean concepts to improve processes spanning the departments that deliver care to over 700 U.  S. military veterans and their spouses. This lean case study looks at a recent kaizen event at the Veterans Home and more broadly at the five-year old lean effort in Iowa government. More »
Using Lean Thinking to Reinvent City Government
By: David Drickhamer | April 1, 2008
Case Studies; Images
In many cities, stagnant tax revenues from a slowing economy coupled with rising healthcare and energy costs are causing budget shortfalls. To cope with the budget squeeze, Grand Rapids, MI, has turned to lean principles. City employees have learned firsthand how consolidating operations, eliminating wasted time and effort, and streamlining processes can help them improve productivity while providing the quality of service that city residents want, in less time and with less effort and More »
What do I do when key logistics employees are afraid to come to work? 
By: Michael Ballé | March 23, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach, What do I do when key logistics employees are afraid to come to work?  More »
LEAN ACCOUNTING…NO THANKS
By: Orry (Orest) Fiume | December 31, 2019
Articles
“Lean Accounting” has been around for about 30 years, yet its adoption has not been widespread. Is that true? More »
5S Is a Way of Thinking and Practice
By: Jean Cunningham | October 29, 2019
Columns; eLetters
It would be impossible to find a valid description of lean that does not include the importance of 5S for organization, standardization, and continuous improvement. Originally applied in manufacturing, 5S is now being applied broadly in many industries including healthcare, government, and software. As Taiichi Ohno said, “Without standards there can be no improvement.  ” I have been a lean practitioner since the early 1990s and my niche as been focusing on developing the lean management system beyond manufacturing. I understood the importance of 5S early on. But it took a series of personal insights for me to fully appreciate More »
Getting Home
By: Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg | March 22, 2019
Books
When the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina receded around New Orleans, they revealed unimaginable destruction and a traditional disaster recovery process that was Byzantine, costly, and far too slow for the victims who just wanted to get home.  Getting Home is the inspiring story of a defense lawyer and a school teacher who left their careers to rebuild homes for desperate survivors but wound up reconstructing the entire process for rebuilding after disasters. Authors Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg describe how SBP, the disaster relief nonprofit they founded, partnered with Toyota to apply the lean principles of the Toyota Production System More »
Lean Without Limits
By: Renée Smith | February 27, 2019
Columns
We come up with many different types of answers that sort Lean conveniently into categories for easy understanding and storage, says Renee Smith; but what if we were to embrace Lean as a human centered philosophy, the biggest category of all? More »
Standardize Your Problem-Solving Approach? Why One Size Does Not Fit All
By: Art Smalley | January 30, 2019
Articles
Lean management practitioners know what a powerful tool standardization is for continuously improving processes. Without standards, there can be no improvement as the old saying goes. Yet as LEI faculty member and author Art Smalley points out this does not only mean one rigid way of doing things such as standardizing your problem-solving approach on only a single methodology like six sigma or 8D or a specific technique like 5 Why? More »
Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good
By: Ann Mei Chang | October 30, 2018
Books
Despite enormous investments of time and money, are we making a dent on the social and environmental challenges of our time? What if we could exponentially increase our impact?Around the world, a new generation is looking beyond greater profits, for meaningful purpose. But, unlike business, few social interventions have achieved significant impact at scale. Inspired by the modern innovation practices popularized by bestseller The Lean Startup that have fueled technology breakthroughs touching every aspect of our lives, LEAN IMPACT turns our attention to a new goal--achieving radically greater social good.   Social change is far more complicated than building a new app. It requires more More »
Four Types of Problems
By: Art Smalley | October 1, 2018
Books
When faced with a problem, many business leaders and teams mechanically reach for a familiar problem-solving methodology. The problem is that the methods are often mismatched with the problem, creating unnecessary struggle, frustration, delay, and ineffectiveness in solving the problem -- if it is ever solved at all. In Four Types of Problems: from reactive troubleshooting to creative innovation veteran lean management practitioner Art Smalley, explains why settling on a favorite problem-solving technique or two is a mistake. He shows that most business problems fall into four main categories, each requiring different thought processes, management cadences, and improvement methods. More »
Four Types of Problems (eBook)
By: Art Smalley | October 1, 2018
Books
When faced with a problem, many business leaders and teams mechanically reach for a familiar problem-solving methodology. The problem is that the methods are often mismatched with the problem, creating unnecessary struggle, frustration, delay, and ineffectiveness in solving the problem -- if it is ever solved at all. In Four Types of Problems: from reactive troubleshooting to creative innovation veteran lean management practitioner Art Smalley, explains why settling on a favorite problem-solving technique or two is a mistake. He shows that most business problems fall into four main categories, each requiring different thought processes, management cadences, and improvement methods. More »
The (Real) Lean Firefighter: Bringing Lean to the Grand Rapids Fire Department
By: Brad Brown | November 7, 2017
Columns
Brad Brown had no lean experience when he joined the Grand Rapids Fire Department (GRFD) in 2003. But as the Great Recession went into full swing and budgets were slashed, he discovered lean – and realized it was just what the GRFD needed to weather the recession. This is his story. More »
Making Things Better - Lean Streets: Improving Road Maintenance in Washington State
By: Steve Gorcester | October 4, 2016
Columns
Ever feel like your home city or town needs to step up its game in maintaining road conditions? People in Washington State certainly have - and for them, lean turned out to be the way to efficient and effective road maintenance. Steve Gorcester played a major role in this lean transformation - here's his story. More »
Why Value-Stream Mapping is So Difficult in the Public Sector
By: Cameron Ford and Gavin Martin | June 9, 2016
Columns
Identifying value in an organization isn't the easiest task to accomplish. If you happen to work in the public sector, that fact goes double. Public-sector consultant Gavin Martin has seen his clients struggle to identify value many times - sometimes to the point that their frustration puts their lean transformation at risk of stalling. More »
The Role of Strategic Design Events in Lean Healthcare: An Interview with Mindy Hangsleben
By: Cameron Ford and Mindy Hangsleben | May 3, 2016
Columns
Faced with a new incoming healthcare policy, Mindy Hangsleben and her team at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services knew a transformation was needed. Their solution to learning what they needed to become involved a strategic design event incorporating both lean and design thinking to gain the input they needed to adapt to the new policy. Read more. More »
Small Batch: Hand-Picked Articles from the Global Lean Community (Vol. 4)
By: Lean Leaper | November 24, 2015
Columns
Our picks for the best high-impact learning stories and columns from Planet Lean. More »
Lean Thinking and My Navy Experience
By: Mark Minukas | November 4, 2015
Columns
When you think of lean organizations, does the U.  S. Navy come to mind? Probably not, but it's an organization with a rich history of lean thinking and practice. Navy veteran and lean practitioner Mark Minukas reflects on the lean lessons he learned from his service and how they helped shape his career. More »
Towards a More Perfect (i.e. Lean) Union
By: Dr. Darlene Dumont | October 28, 2015
Columns
"Over the past few years, we have seen an upward trend in the number of government agencies and states beginning to explore and practice the “true” meaning of lean and lean transformation," writes Dr. Darlene Dumont. Learn why she suggests that the practitioners leading these efforts should network and share ideas amongst each other. More »
Jim Womack and Dan Jones on the Evolution and Future of Lean
By: Roberto Priolo | December 23, 2014
Columns
At the UK Lean Summit last month, Roberto Priolo caught up with Jim Womack and Dan Jones to talk about the current and future state of the lean movement. Watch the full interview or read key insights from Womack and Jones. More »
Public Service: Lean's Next Frontier?
By: Lex Schroeder and John O'Donnell | December 16, 2014
Columns
John O'Donnell and Lex Schroeder share the thinking behind LEI's new Public Service Value Network and invite you to contribute to a new and fast-growing community of practice. More »
Lean Management Case Studies
By: Marchwinski, Chet | May 16, 2014
Case Studies
Learn how a variety of businesses and organizations used lean management principles to solve real business problems. We’ve arranged the examples in 16 categories to help you find the ones right for your environment.  Be sure to read LEI’s complementary Senior Executive Series on Lean Leadership to find out how many of the executives cited in these case studies changed how they managed and led. More »
The Fight for the Meaning of Lean
By: Michael Ballé | December 19, 2013
Columns
"It seems like every one and their dog is doing Lean," writes Michael Ballé. "But what 'Lean' are we talking about? Is it the 'to develop products we need to develop people' Lean.  .. Or is it the 'improve productivity to reduce costs' Lean corporate types like. Or both?" More »
Gemba Walks, 2nd Edition
By: Jim Womack | October 22, 2013
Books
A collection of engaging, entertaining, and insightful essays by Jim Womack, based on the many gemba walks he has taken around the world. The 2nd edition contains 12 new essays in sectors such as healthcare and government. More »
Gemba Walks, 2nd Edition (eBook)
By: Jim Womack | October 22, 2013
Books
A collection of essays by Jim Womack based on the many gemba walks he has taken around the world. The 2nd edition contains 12 new essays in sectors such as healthcare and government. More »
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