Saving Money vs Making Money

Recently, I have had many discussions with colleagues about whether or not the primary purpose of Lean is to eliminate waste or to increase value.  I’m a proponent of the latter, where Lean is to increase value with respect for people.  Yes, in order to increase value, waste must be removed from the system, to which, my colleague says, “See, it comes down to eliminating waste.  Besides, that’s easier to understand.” Continue reading

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Design Thinking and The Lean Start Up

Editors note: While some may consider Design Thinking and the Lean Start Up methodology competing, in my view they compliment each other quite well.  This post is my view on how they can be integrated to help organizations succeed.

The importance of design cannot be understated.  It is a premise that most readily accept, especially when it comes to product design; but when we take an honest assessment of the results of our projects (or initiatives), in retrospect, many of our designs – system designs – are poor.  Problems and opportunities are identified, and a solution is visualized, but at the end of the day, the vision rarely materializes as originally seen.

Design Thinking incorporating the Lean Start Up can help.

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An Overly Simplistic View of PI

Process Identification -> Process Improvement -> Performance Improvement -> Performance Excellence -> Operational Excellence

The journey of Continuous Improvement is long, arduous, and best of all, never-ending.  One could say that is the whole nature of the word “continuous”.  This road does, however, have several checkpoints.  With that said, here we’ll provide an overview of the entire journey, but spend more time at the beginning – because that’s where it all starts!

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The Importance of Proper Definition

The definition of definition is “a statement expressing the essential nature of something.” At least that’s one way Webster defines the word.  But why is a definition so important?  Because definitions enable us to have a common understanding of a word or subject; they allow us to all be on the same page when discussing or reading about an issue.  And while we tend to make sure we properly define our words and phrases so that all understand, how well do we do that with our projects, programs or initiatives? Continue reading

New Thinking in Higher Education

The recession has forced many institutions of higher learning to rethink their business models to not only reduce costs, but also reshape themselves to react to the rapidly changing enrollment patterns.  According to National Center for Education Statistics data, over a ten year period from 1998 to 2008, enrollment at two-year public colleges grew 32 percent, while enrollment at four-year public institutions increased by 19 percent, and by 17 percent at four-year private institutions.  The recession of the past two years has only reinforced this trend as unemployment rates have hovered near 10% and people are seeking economical options to increase their skill set. This creates issues for both two-year and four-year institutions. Continue reading