The Need to Consider Other Perspectives in Process Design & Kaizen
I really like and admire the folks at Catalysis (formerly known as the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value).
I worked very closely with them from 2009 to 2011 when I was an LEI employee and I continue to partner with them in different ways, with their annual Lean Healthcare Transformation Summits (check out my pre-Summit workshop on “Better Metrics” this year) and as a “faculty” member for them.
One way that we collaborate and work together is through a shared Dropbox folder.
When the folder was created and pushed out to people, it looked like this on my Mac:
Since I’m a “faculty member” for a few other organizations, including the Lean Enterprise Institute.
For the person at Catalysis, the label “FACULTY RESOURCES” makes perfect sense in her context. There’s no confusion to her what that means.
For me (and maybe for other faculty), it’s not clear in my folder list that this is about Catalysis.
So, I made a suggestion. I would be tempted to call this a “Kaizen” improvement, but Kaizen generally involves things that you can fix yourself and with others. This was sort of in the category of a “suggestion” because I could only bring it up. My colleague at Catalysis could make it a Kaizen from her perspective, based on my suggestion.
Maybe that distinction isn’t important (but I do try to teach people that, in a Kaizen process, you can’t just lob ideas at others… you should come up with some ideas that you can implement).
It took a bit of time, as the Catalysis leader wanted to get input from others on their team (and possibly from other faculty). That’s fair. Even a small, easy improvement might require some discussion. Our model in the Healthcare Kaizen book, by the way is:
- Find (problems, opportunities, or ideas)
- Implement (or test)
Some ideas don’t require much discussion — they are a “just do it.” If an idea is low risk and can be easily undone, just do it. If it’s more involved or riskier, it requires more discussion… to get input, to talk about what might happen, etc.
The change was made… here’s how the folder looks now, to me, as “CATALYSIS FACULTY RESOURCES.” I like that better. I consider it an improvement. It makes things a bit easier for me.
I appreciate their collaboration and continuous improvement.
I don’t fault them for not considering how things look through my eyes. I give them credit for listening and responding once I spoke up.
Here’s how I would write this Kaizen up, Healthcare Kaizen style:
What small Kaizen improvement have you implemented recently?
Have you been surprised along the way during the course of a PDSA cycle when you discovered the perspective of somebody that you hadn’t considered yet? Is that to be avoided or a natural part of the PDSA process?