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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

Problem Solving:   In a lean transformation or any process improvement effort, identifying and closing gaps between current and target conditions.  In a lean management system, everyone is engaged in problem solving, guided by two key characteristics:Everything described or claimed in the problem-solving process (the problem itself; the target condition, the direct cause, the root cause) should  be based on verifiable facts, not assumptions and interpretations.   The burden of proof on the problem solver is emphasized through questions such as, How do you know that? Did you go to the gemba and grasp the actual condition first hand? How do you know you More »
Problem Solving Fast and Slow
By: Ben Root | July 15, 2014
Columns
"There are many paradoxes about the Toyota Production System," writes Ben Root. "Speed is certainly one of them. 'Do it slowly, but quickly.  '" Read more. More »
Problem Solving the Airlines
By: Danielle Blais | December 20, 2013
Columns
Rarely are process problems so clear as during the holidays! Have ideas for how to improve your air travel experience? Lean coach Danielle Blais does, too. Read more about what we can learn from travel stress! More »
Problem Solving to Align Purpose, Process and People
Workshops
This is an expanded version of our 1-day Lean Problem Solving workshop which is offered exclusively in our office in Cambridge, MA. More »
Change Your “Pet” Problem Solving Method
By: Art Smalley | May 20, 2019
Columns
Got problems with your problem-solving method? This interview by LEI's Chet Marchwinski with Four Types of Problems author Art Smalley shares advice on how you can "change your 'pet' problem-solving method.  " More »
WLEI: Four Types of Problems, author Art Smalley digs in on problem solving
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | December 21, 2018
Audio
Author Art Smalley joins Chet Marchwinski to discuss problem solving and his new book Four Types of Problems from reactive trouble shooting to creative innovation.  Additional Articles and Books:Four Types of ProblemsBook Review: Four Types of ProblemsNot Every Problem Is a “Nail” But Companies Typically Reach for the Same Old “Hammer” More »
Assessing Problem Solving Capability in Job Candidates: A True Account
By: Derrick Redding | July 25, 2017
Columns
Last month, Derrick Redding shared three questions that you can ask job candidates to assess their problem-solving capacity. As a followup, he is now sharing a real-life example of a time when these questions helped him do just that - without ever once talking about work. Read more. More »
Getting Religious About Problem Solving
By: Lean Leaper | July 19, 2017
Columns
Have you ever heard of a lean transformation guided by scriptures? The people at LifeWayChristian Resources' distribution center in Tennessee have! Whenever possible, they use passages from the Bible to exemplify the principles in their lean training materials. Find out how. More »
Why Effective Problem Solving Begins With a Good Problem Statement
By: Dave LaHote | January 7, 2015
Columns
"Let’s solve world peace" or "let’s state our predetermined solution as a problem" aren't real problem statements, says Dave LaHote. Read why a good problem statement is so important, why it's harder than you think to come up with one, and learn how to write a better one. More »
Lean Talks: Problem Solving with ThoughtWorks
By: Kevin Kriner | May 9, 2014
Columns
Kevin Kriner, an agile project manager at ThoughtWorks, gives a short "Lean Talk" on what he's learned about root cause analysis at the Lean Transformation Summit 2014, including how root cause analysis develops people and strengthens teams. More »
Building Problem Solving Muscle at University of Michigan Health System
By: Jeanne Kin | December 13, 2013
Columns
"We are beginning to realize the wisdom of Henry Ford’s adage: 'There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems,.  ..  '" More »
For Athletic Shoe Company, the Soul of Lean Management Is Problem Solving
By: Chet Marchwinski | June 24, 2008
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
When it began a lean transformation in 2003, New Balance, the only athletic shoe manufacturer that still makes some products in the U.  S.  , focused on using lean tools to improve product flow through its five New England plants to retailers and final customers. Next, with help from the Toyota Supplier Support Center, management began organizing the change effort around problem solving and process improvement to create a culture that would engage the workforce while moving the company to higher level. More »
Online - Introduction to Problem Solving
Workshops
In this course, you will learn to grasp the situation at the gemba and use all your senses to understand what is truly happening. All too often, people create countermeasures to perceived problems without digging deeper or thinking more, that is, learning at the gemba to grasp the actual situation of the problem. More »
Using Training Within Industry (TWI) Techniques for Rapid and Sustainable Problem Solving
Workshops
Join us for a workshop based on scientifically-proven Training Within Industry (TWI) techniques designed to help you and your team (and the organization) learn faster. More »
Recognizing Effective PDCA Problem Solving
Workshops
This workshop will review the basic six-step PDCA process for investigating problems and deciding the most effective ways to eliminate them. It is intended to help leaders and coaches develop the listening and observation skills to recognize and model sound PDCA problem solving based on grasp of actual conditions. It will also prepare leaders to facilitate teams in PDCA thinking and coach employees to develop the skills to apply the process on their own. More »
Lean Problem Solving
Workshops
Harness the DNA of successful, sustainable lean implementations. You'll learn and practice the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) problem-solving method in this interactive workshop. More »
Leading in a Continuous Improvement Culture: Engaging and Coaching Problem Solving Thinkers
Workshops
This program is designed to describe this new role you can play as a leader in a program solving culture. It will also introduce skills that will help you be effective in that role and give you opportunities to practice them. More »
How SBP Went From Intolerable Conditions to Constructive Discontent
By: Zack Rosenburg | June 14, 2019
Columns
In this keynote talk at the LEI summit, Zack Rosenburg of SBP talks about how this non-profit has evolved its thinking about defining and tackling problems, creating a culture of continuous improvement that views management as a noble profession. More »
Getting Home: Jacob and Claude Stoller Appreciate the Lean Lessons of this New Book
By: Claude Stoller and Jacob Stoller | June 12, 2019
Columns
"Getting Home is a terrific book that puts lean to work on a problem that’s really significant. Let’s hope it’s an inspiration for architects and non-architects who want to make a difference," says Jacob Stoller, in a conversation with his father Claude, an architect and teacher with a passion for applying lean to this work. More »
Ask Art: How Can I Engage All Our Leaders to Learn and Teach Lean?
By: Art Byrne | June 10, 2019
Columns
What's the best way to teach lean to your internal leaders? By forming teams who will learn by doing, shares Art Byrne. This will drive your gains, build great teamwork, and build the learning environment necessary to become a lean enterprise. More »
Go and See: Where The Magic Is
By: Nicolas Chartier | June 7, 2019
Columns
To reconnect with the reality of your business, go to the gemba, advises CEO Nicolas Chartier of Aramisauto. But to really experience the magic that happens, be sure to ask your people to display and visualize their flow, and you will discover unexpected opportunities for growth. More »
Cost Saving is Tired--Value Creation is Hot!
By: Jean Cunningham | June 5, 2019
Columns
Lean affects financial outcomes--dramatically so in firms that incorporate widespread lean thinking over the long term, says LEI Chair Jean Cunningham. And yet she counsels you not to fixate on cost reduction or product cost. Look instead at the real numbers. More »
Cleveland Clinic’s Prescription for Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement
By: Lisa Yerian | June 3, 2019
Columns
Lisa Yerian, MD, medical director of continuous improvement at the Clinic, talks about a “model area” approach to improvement, how initial “islands” of improvement linked up, results so far, and how a continuous improvement transformation is transforming her as a leader. More »
What Do Sensei Actually Do?
By: Daniel T. Jones | May 31, 2019
Columns
What do lean sensei do? Take you to the gemba, discuss what the real challenges are, prescribe exercises, teach PDCA, and push you to the next step, argue the authors of the new book The Lean Sensei. More »
Try These Lean Summer Reads
By: Lean Leaper | May 29, 2019
Columns
Summer is upon us and as you lean learners prepare for some decidedly non-value added time in your schedule, consider any number of these books for your summer reading. More »
Practicing Constructive Discontent At SBP
By: Zack Rosenburg | May 24, 2019
Columns
To become an organization of problem solvers, talking about problems couldn’t merely be something that we did, shares Zack Rosenburg of St. Bernard Project. It had to be part of who we are; it had to be our identity. Being or living constructive discontent and adopting it as our identity would mean that problems were brought to the surface, not buried. More »
The Remarkable Chief Engineer
By: John Y. Shook | May 22, 2019
Columns
How can a system in which "we are all connected and no one is in charge" support purposeful and productive work? Toyota's famed Chief Engineer system has much to offer in this regard. John Shook explores how the leadership styles of, and ways of working by, the CE might provide something of a roadmap for all of us. More »
How Does LPPD Help Create a Lean Enterprise?
By: Lean Leaper | May 17, 2019
Columns
What is LPPD? As noted by Jim Morgan LPPD is a set of principles and practices that promote collaboration, transparency, and rapid learning, in the development of both process and product simultaneously, leading to the creation of really effective value streams. He shares thoughts with Jim Womack, Jeff Liker, and Eric Ethington on this topic. More »
Rebuilding Homes and Disaster Recovery Processes
By: Zack Rosenburg | May 15, 2019
Columns
When Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg left their careers to help desperate victims of Hurricane Katrina rebuild, they knew nothing about construction or lean management. Today, SBP, the disaster recovery nonprofit they founded, has cut rebuilding time by nearly 50% using lean concepts. Zack talks to LEI about the remarkable new recovery model they developed and detail in their new book, Getting Home. More »
How to Scale Up Positive Social Change
By: Ann Mei Chang | May 13, 2019
Columns
Far more households globally have access to a mobile phone than a toilet, notes Ann Mei Chang, a tech executive turned social innovator and author. And that’s despite the time and money spent for years by hundreds of nonprofits, social organizations, companies, and government agencies. Listen as she explains her radical idea of taking the scientific method she learned in tech and the lean startup movement to create radically great social good at scale. More »
Why We Believe A Strong Customer Focus Is Needed To Drive A Lean Strategy
By: Lean Sensei Women | May 10, 2019
Columns
Is there any principle more core to the heart of lean than relentlessly focusing on the customer? In this collection of thoughts on the topic, seven lean sensei women explore how and why customer focus is at the heart of lean strategy. More »
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