Parody Audio: Marketing Lean Healthcare Like the iPad

If you’ve been anywhere near a TV lately, you’ve probably heard and seen this hypnotizing “What is iPad?” commercial (YouTube link). The announcer breathlessly and shamelessly tells you how “beautiful” and “magical” the iPad is… “it’s crazy powerful,” he says, channeling Steve Jobs (who probably wrote the ad himself).

After about the 200th time of being bombarded with this ad (and I don’t watch THAT much TV), I found myself reciting their mantra, as I tweeted:

I feel like the iPad TV ad is brainwashing me. Yes, iPad is beautiful Yes, it’s crazy powerful. Must…. buy…. iPad…

That got me thinking… maybe we need a slick marketing campaign like this for Lean Healthcare… read on and listen up.

I quickly whipped together this little parody audio:


I do this all with tongue firmly in cheek. I wouldn’t want to try to brainwash the healthcare world into believing in Lean. Instead, we need to appeal to their heads and their hearts.

We have to share examples of how Lean principles and management methods lead to better quality, safety, cost, access, and staff morale. We have to share how Lean works when we aren’t top-down command-and-control and we engage all staff in figuring out how to provide ideal patient care. We have to convince healthcare leaders that Lean isn’t just a set of tools and it’s not a bunch of cost cutting. Lean is “equally important pillars” (Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno) of continuous improvement AND respect for people. It’s impossible to do that in a 30-second commercial.

You can read about this and more in the upcoming book (due out this week): On the Mend: Revolutionizing Healthcare to Save Lives and Transform the Industry, by the way, as I think ThedaCare is really trying to do this the right way.

I cringe when I hear of “fake Lean” or what I call “L.A.M.E.” in healthcare (Lean As Misguidedly Executed). Real Lean isn’t mean. Lean is an obsessively customer-focused philosophy — if we hear nurses complaining that Lean isn’t patient-focused, that’s a problem with management there or with the people teaching what they call “lean”. We have to separate “bad lean” from the real Lean that comes from true Toyota principles, not the latest thing some consultant is selling. Neither Toyota nor the Lean Enterprise Institute have any control over what people or organizations might do under the name “lean.”

I cringed as I recorded the line straight from the commercial:

  • Apple ad: “You already know how to use it”
  • Lean Healthcare ad: “You already know how to implement it”

Actually, the cases of “L.A.M.E.” or fake lean are cases where people don’t understand Lean or they don’t know how to adopt it in a way that truly engages everyone for the right reasons (quality and patient care first, cost second).

Anyway, hope you enjoyed my commercial. Maybe you’re brainwashed into saying “Lean is crazy powerful” (if you listen to it 200 times!!).

The original iPad ad can be seen and heard below:


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Now Available – The updated, expanded, and revised 3rd Edition of Mark Graban’s Shingo Research Award-Winning Book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement. You can buy the book today, including signed copies from the author.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an eBook titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

5 Comments on "Parody Audio: Marketing Lean Healthcare Like the iPad"

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  1. Lewis Lefteroff says:

    Great parody. Lean is crazy powerful… must… have… Lean…

  2. Lee Bryan says:

    Nice going Mark. Loving the creativity!

  3. Laura says:

    interesting perspective and enjoyable humor. :) I agree that LEAN needs to be done right or it is DEFINITELY lame….
    Laura recently posted..Community Matters for NRHA MembersMy Profile

  4. Kevin Tame says:

    This is Awesome!

    I really want to hear you bust a freestyle rap about LEAN next time.
    Maybe even a Justin Beiber Parody.
    Ha Ha Ha. That would be great!

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