A German Lean Community – Online and Offline
By Ralf Lippold:
[Mark’s Note] Today’s post comes from a good friend of the Lean Blog, Ralf Lippold, a frequent commenter on the blog from Leipzig, Germany. I asked him to write about a Lean group he has started. I also hope he’ll write soon about the links between Lean thinking and System Dynamics.
1) What is your group?
There actually wasn’t really and as I was already member of XING, I stepped forward and sent an application for a new group. The group’s name should be: “Lean Thinking” (http://www.xing.com/net/lean) and so I started off together with an old friend, Ruben Huber, who also is a strong “Lean Thinker”
The differentiation of XING compared to other internet networks is that it provides the ability to set up such a special interest group and attract people from a non-lean background due to the diverse interest background of XING members (being a general business orientated network that originated from Germany and is running in several dozen languages to present day).
The main purpose of the group is to bring lean thinkers together, sharing their thoughts, stories in order to bring organizations -their own and in general- to a sustainable customer focused business.
Anybody from around the globe is heartily invited to join in.
2) What was the purpose of your recent meeting?
LTT stands for what it is: Lean Thinkers Meeting (instead of meeting there is a T for the German word Treffen). Discussions on shared problems in a virtual discussion room is practical in some sense but never can make it for the personal meeting.
Starting with a mere 10 people for the 1. LTT (first LTT) at my former University for Applied Sciences Dresden to now around 40 participants during the 2. LTT (2nd LTT). It is planned to do LTTs twice a year in Germany (with regional LTT on local demand).
The vision is to manage a global LTT meeting every few years somewhere in the world (similar to the Society of Organizational Learning Global Forum, which recently took place in Muscat, Oman, and hosted about 400 people from 47 countries on the questions around “Organizational Learning” – pretty close to “Lean Thinking” actually.
3) Are there any lean specific topics of interest going on in Germany or highlights from the meeting?
The most discussed topics in the group was finding the barriers that make a change to a lean enterprise not yet sustainable. In a broader scope, “Lean Thinking” is coming back to companies and universities to be taken seriously and researched on. A few years back the first “lean hype” was over and it looked just like another management theory.
Now we all learn that “lean thinking” is an attitude of doing things -looking from the customer’s perspective- and this is extremely difficult to implement in living and set organizational cultures (like anywhere else in the world).