Receiving the Shingo Research Award for “Healthcare Kaizen”

Last night, my co-author Joe Swartz and I were able to formally receive the Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award for our book Healthcare KaizenWe learned about this recognition about a year ago and received the formal recognition last night, including a very cool crystal book.

This is a very meaningful recognition for a number of reasons. My parents and Joe’s parents were all there. My wife was there, even though Texas thunderstorms turned a six hour trip to Sandusky into a 12-hour ordeal of diversions and delays.

I learned yesterday that Joe’s father worked directly with Shigeo Shingo in the 1970s, the manufacturing genius this award is named after. Shigeo’s son, Ritsuo Shingo, was in attendance last night. Joe’s dad also knew Dr. W. Edwards Deming and my father met Deming a few times and took his famed four-day seminar. The Shingo Institute and the work of Dr. Deming continues to inspire us today.

Mark & Joe

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Joe and I stand on the shoulders of the giants we have learned from, including Masaaki Imai and Norman Bodek. It was Norman who introduced me and Joe back in 2005 as we both transitioned into healthcare. I’ve learned a lot from each of them and owe them more gratitude than a blog post can express.

We wouldn’t have a book without the hard work and dedication of the leaders and healthcare professionals at Joe’s organization, Franciscan St. Francis Health, and all of the people I have worked with along the way.

We’d like to honor everybody who is working to create a culture of continuous improvement in healthcare (or any workplace).

It’s also work recognizing everybody who does NOT work in a culture of continuous improvement… they all deserve better and their patients deserve better. But, we will keep plugging away and ask everyone reading this to do the same. Thanks for your work and passion for changing healthcare.

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There were four other healthcare books that received the award last night:

Accelerating Health Care Transformation with Lean and Innovation: The Virginia Mason Experience by Paul Plsek

Perfecting Patient Journeys: Improving Patient Safety, Quality, And Satisfaction While Building Problem-Solving Skills by Judy Worth, Tom Shuker, et. al.

Achieving STEEEP Health Care by multiple authors

Lean Leadership for Healthcare: Approaches to Lean Transformation by Ronald Bercaw

Congratulations to all the recipients!

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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.


  1. Paul Everett says

    Great and well-deserved award, guys!! Glad family was there. That’s very important. Hello to Jim Swartz who certainly deeply influenced my Lean thoughts and path.

    Recognition matters.


  2. Mark Welch says

    Congratulations to you and Joe for a fine piece of work. We’ve launched point kaizen at a hospital I’ve been helping and they have really latched on to it. Thanks for a very practical and useful publication.

  3. Geoff says

    Well done Mark and Joe a well deserved recognition of the work and passion you have put in.

  4. Paul Everett says

    Question: What is ‘Point Kaizen’? Where might I read about it? I’ve done lots of Kaizen projects but must have missed something.


  5. Joe Drobny

    Congratulations to both you and Joe! I was able to attend your second breakout session during the Shingo Conference and really enjoyed the experiences you shared and the on the spot Kaizen idea with setting up the clock.

  6. Bart Sellers says

    Congratulations for your great work and contributions to improving healthcare.

    The fact that both of your fathers were involved in quality improvement makes me think that DNA may be an enabling factor in quality improvement.

    1. Mark Graban

      It’s both nature AND nurture, perhaps… nurturing from parents and from legends like Bodek and Imai.

      I did a small Kaizen right before our breakout session at the conference. It’s so hard to NOT do Kaizen once it’s in your system…

      A morning speaker pointed out there was no speaker clock (and then he ran long). That’s a normal thing to have at a big conference so the speaker can see the time near their monitor with the slides.

      After the problem was identified, there was no Kaizen from the Shingo folks (oops).

      So, I installed a speaker timer app on my iPad and set that up on the table near the monitor. Voila, a speaker clock. Kaizen!

      No, I didn’t donate the iPad to Shingo. That’s an expensive clock (but easier than carrying around a digital alarm clock).

      Most conferences solve this “no clock” problem with a cheap $5 digital clock.

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