Diversity in Lean Thought is a Good Thing
Just a quick blog post for today… I recently did an online presentation for a student Lean club at Utah State University. It wasn’t as nice as actually being there, but with the webcam connection, I could at least the faces of students who asked questions. It’s nice to see a strong interest in Lean (this is a voluntary “free time” club) and there was a particular interest in healthcare careers.
In preparing for my presentation, I made a bad assumption. I assumed the group was all engineers. I’m an Industrial Engineer and always thought of Lean as an “I.E.” field.
It turns out that the group was mostly NOT engineers, with students studying accounting, marketing, psychology, business and other subjects.
I think this is great for the future of Lean. Since Lean is a socio-technical field, we need more of a focus on people and not just the technical. One of the best Lean thinkers I worked with in manufacturing had an H.R. background. He was so effective at leading projects in the shopfloor because he had a keen understanding of how to work with people effectively.
I’m not bashing engineers or saying that engineers can’t do this… I just think the diversity of academic backgrounds is great. As one of the student leaders said”
“Everybody reads different things, and has different backgrounds, so we all help each other out.”
This almost begs for a survey… but in comments, maybe you can share your background and how you got into Lean.
I hope everyone had a productive week. I had a rewarding week… remember that Lean and change management can be hard… we all have our ups and downs in this work, but hang in there. As Jim Womack loves to say (and I’m paraphrasing):
“If what you’re doing seems easy, you’re not really doing Lean.”