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Tag: Problem Solving

Is “The Jerk” Good at Problem Solving?

Is “The Jerk” Good at Problem Solving?

Four years ago, I parodied the style of GEICO commercial that they were running at the time with a “did you know that Steve Martin’s character from The Jerk was bad at 5S?” The other day, I was thinking about the scene in the movie where Navin R. Johnson (Martin’s character) was working at a […]

By November 21, 2014 0 Comments Read More →
Guest Post: Organizations are Solving Problems; Are They Workarounds or Real Improvements?

Guest Post: Organizations are Solving Problems; Are They Workarounds or Real Improvements?

Mark’s note: Today’s post is a guest post by my friend and colleague Isaac Mitchell. We’ve crossed paths at conferences, including the annual Society for Health Systems conference, where he shared some of their great work on Kaizen that’s being done at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Hopefully we’ll see you there in February with keynote […]

By November 6, 2014 6 Comments Read More →
Why Lunch Can Be Annoying at the Sensei Cafe

Why Lunch Can Be Annoying at the Sensei Cafe

Last week, I published my first cartoon collaboration with a skilled artist (and medical assistant), Carrie Howarth. You might call that cartoon “Strategy Dog-ployment.” None of us expect this to be a weekly thing, but sometimes you strike when inspiration hits. Here is our latest collaboration, the “Sensei Cafe.” Again, at the risk of killing the […]

By August 27, 2014 5 Comments Read More →
3 Ways to React to Human Error

3 Ways to React to Human Error

What happens when a mistake is made in your organization? How do you react when an error occurs? A lab specimen gets mislabeled. The wrong product is shipped to the wrong customer. A patient is injected with the wrong medication. These are moments that matter. Does emotion take over or do we stay calm? How […]

The Worst Root Cause Problem Solver in the Animal World Is… Who?

The Worst Root Cause Problem Solver in the Animal World Is… Who?

We all know the beaver is “the engineer of the animal kingdom.” That’s why MIT has a beaver as a mascot… it’s an engineer who likes to build things and is generally nocturnal, an apt description of MIT students. A survey taken by the National Geographic Society has found that the owl, however, is the […]

Video: Toyota Helps Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Their Eye Clinic

Video: Toyota Helps Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Their Eye Clinic

California week on the blog continues after yesterday’s post about Lean at San Francisco General Hospital. Today, I’m flying to Los Angeles to attend the 5th annual Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit. I will be, as usual, moderating the CEO panel and I will be, for the first time, moderating the Q&A session at the end […]

Kaizen Tip: Just Do Its and Root Causes

Kaizen Tip: Just Do Its and Root Causes

In the Kaizen process, we ask everybody to identify problems (or opportunities) and then to write down an idea that could potentially solve the problem (or at least solve it to some extent).  What’s written down on the card (or submitted into KaiNexus software) is the starting point for discussion within a team and/or with […]

Notes & My Short Talk from the #Lean Transformation Summit, #Lean14

Notes & My Short Talk from the #Lean Transformation Summit, #Lean14

It’s been fun attending the annual Lean Transformation Summit (produced by LEI). Today is Day 2. I took some notes from Day 1 and Tom Ehrenfeld has been “live blogging” it a bit on the LEI site. Tom also took and posted a picture of me in my spiffy “Lean Geek” t-shirt. LEI had a […]

Jumping to Solutions

Jumping to Solutions

We’ve all seen it. We’ve probably all done it. What’s that? Jumping to solutions. I hope this illustration I created gives you a bit of pause… not just to laugh at others, but to reflect on this personally. About LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author […]

By February 25, 2014 4 Comments Read More →
The Truth About Data and PDSA/PDCA from a Toyota Publication

The Truth About Data and PDSA/PDCA from a Toyota Publication

Out there in the Lean and quality improvement communities, you sometimes hear some silly things. Sometimes, I want to attach the “Lean As Mistakenly Explained” (or L.A.M.E.) label to what’s said when it really seems off the mark from what Lean is really all about. Davis Balestracci, a columnist for Quality Digest, passed along something […]

By February 20, 2014 4 Comments Read More →
The Power of Asking “What Do You Think?”

The Power of Asking “What Do You Think?”

Mark’s post: I’m still away on vacation, but happy to have some guest bloggers, including Chad Walters. Unlike his past posts, today’s not about Lean in sports… and I think you’ll enjoy it. Obviously one of the most important questions we ask in the field of continuous improvement is “Why?” and for very important reasons […]

By November 1, 2013 4 Comments Read More →
From Vague to Passive to Active in Your Voice and Improvement Work

From Vague to Passive to Active in Your Voice and Improvement Work

While I’d be the first to admit that my writing is not perfect and I certainly need a copy editor for my books, I have a bit of a reputation as a “grammar cop” amongst co-workers in previous jobs. I even received a “mock awards” certificate from a team at Dell that said as much […]

By September 25, 2013 13 Comments Read More →
Don’t Let Looking at Data Blind You From Seeing Reality

Don’t Let Looking at Data Blind You From Seeing Reality

I recently read an article (a case study) about “Lean Six Sigma” in a publication. It’s not online, so I can’t link to it, nor do I really want to call them out by name. I didn’t like the article, in part, because it used the old, tired (and wrong) idea that “Six Sigma is […]

By September 10, 2013 18 Comments Read More →
Weekend Fun: An Example of Poor Problem Solving

Weekend Fun: An Example of Poor Problem Solving

Here’s a funny ESPN commercial featuring golfer Rickie Fowler. Fowler is pouring coffee, yet he makes some bad assumptions about which coffee is decaf and about the “milk” being bad (compounded by the joke that he’s supposedly color blind). I guess if there’s any Lean lesson, it’s that we can be at the “gemba” and […]

By August 30, 2013 7 Comments Read More →
Podcast #179 – Judy Worth & Tom Shuker, “Perfecting Patient Journeys”

Podcast #179 – Judy Worth & Tom Shuker, “Perfecting Patient Journeys”

Please upgrade your browser MP3 File (run time 29:31)   My guests for Podcast #179 are my friends Judy Worth and Tom Shuker, two of the co-authors of the book  Perfecting Patient Journeys, which was published earlier this year by the Lean Enterprise Institute. About the book: “Perfecting Patient Journeys  is a guide for leaders […]

Blame the Worker or the System – British Airways Engine Covers

Blame the Worker or the System – British Airways Engine Covers

I flew back safely from Finland on Saturday – or I should say British Airways and American Airlines flew me safety, including in the 747 pictured at left. 15 hours across three flights. It was a long day. But, I wasn’t really worried about my safety because of the great track record that the aviation […]

Lack of PDSA made JCP CEO SOL?

Lack of PDSA made JCP CEO SOL?

It’s been interesting to follow the rise and fall of former Apple retailing executive Ron Johnson during his less-than-two-year stint as CEO at long-struggling retailer JC Penney. Johnson was often cited as the genius behind the generally outstanding Apple stores, but his approach didn’t translate well into trying to fix a dying company… and he […]

Error Proofing Against Drinking Bad Tap Water at #HIMSS13

Error Proofing Against Drinking Bad Tap Water at #HIMSS13

Here in New Orleans, there was a problem with the city water today and there’s a 24-hour “boil water” order in effect through tomorrow morning. We could play a good game of the 5 Whys: Why can’t we drink the water? It’s potentially unsafe Why? The water pressure dropped earlier this morning Why? Because there […]