By November 9, 2012 6 Comments Read More →

Lean Startup Conference Talk – Parallels to Lean Hospital Design

Although I blog most often about Lean healthcare, I know a good number of my blog readers are from the “Lean Startup” world who like reading about general Lean leadership concepts. I hope to meet many of you at Eric Ries’ Lean Startup Conference, December 3-4 in San Francisco.

I am participating in the “Ignite” speaking session on Sunday, December 2 – I have five minutes and 20 slides (that automatically advance every 15 seconds) to talk about Lean in healthcare. Yikes.

I’ve never done an Ignite talk. I’ve been working feverishly, as it takes way longer to prepare a 5-minute talk than it does to prepare a 50-minute talk. I will be talking about the parallels between the Lean Startup methodology and the “Lean Design” methodology that’s being used to design and build better hospitals.

I have my own experiences in two startups… Factory Logic, from 2000-2004, which was very much a “traditional” startup, and KaiNexus, where we use many Lean Startup principles and methods.

The traditional hospital design and construction cycle is very much like traditional “waterfall” software development. Lean Design engages hospital staff and patients very early in the process, in a very collaborative approach. Lean Design, like Lean Startup, recognizes that you can’t work forever on the perfect design (or perfect startup product) that you have to start testing with real users and going through many iterative improvement cycles.

While software is very flexible and changeable (at KaiNexus, we push out two new versions of our web/cloud application twice a week or more), a hospital (as “brick and mortar” is harder to change” once built. That’s why the Lean Design process includes lots of prototyping with cardboard, taped off areas, and plastic sheeting that forms mocked up rooms and units that staff and patients can test. That way, you go through the “Build, Measure, Learn” cycles (ala Lean Startup) before the space has actually been built. The hospital takes input from “users” and iterates the design before it’s built. It’s far cheaper to change the hospital when it’s a mockup…

Anyway, I hope it will be a thought-provoking five minutes for the attendees. As the last email from the conference said, “Also: booze.” is an added feature of Ignite.

Let me know if you’ll be there at Ignite or the main conference.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please scroll down to post a comment. Click here to be notified about posts via email. Learn more about Mark Graban’s speaking, writing, and consulting.

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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 book 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.

6 Comments on "Lean Startup Conference Talk – Parallels to Lean Hospital Design"

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  1. Jason Yip

    Is the Lean Design approach similar to what the Lean Construction Institute advocates?

  2. Mark how do you see LEAN as a tool for achieving ISO9001 certification in hospitals?

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