LeanBlog Podcast #26 – Dr. Gwendolyn Galsworth on Visual Workplace and Visual Thinking




Episode #26 of the LeanBlog Podcast brings us Dr. Gwendolyn Galsworth, of the Visual Lean Institute. She is the author, most recently of the book Visual Workplace, Visual Thinking: Creating Enterprise Excellence Through the Technologies of the Visual Workplace.

Ironically enough, we will be using this audio-only format to discuss visual methods in the workplace and how that ties into Lean and the Toyota Production System. Her book has hundreds of color photos and illustrations of effective visual methods, so if you find this discussion helpful, I hope will follow up with the book. The book is an inventive and unique approach to visual management and helping people work more effectively. One small thing I really appreciate is how her case studies and examples from factories always have a photo of one of the value-adding associates who was involved in the work.

  • Norman Bodek, visual workplace, poka yoke, visual guarantees, visual order, visual inventiveness, visuality
  • “I-Driven”: Knowing what information that individual needs to work well
  • Borders, home addresses, ID labels
  • Right angles aren't necessarily the best for workplace layouts
  • “Information deficits” are the symptom, deficits cause waste and “motion without working”
  • Six categories of missing information: the missing “where,” the missing “what,” etc.
  • Video training system
  • The counterproductive 5S initiative that we discussed (previous blog link)
  • “The obedience paradigm” versus empowering people
  • The older, existing website
  • Forum on the new website

If you have feedback on the podcast, or any questions for me or my guests, you can email me at leanpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave a voicemail by calling the “Lean Line” at (817) 993-0630 or contact me via Skype id “mgraban”. Please give your location and your first name. Any comments (email or voicemail) might be used in follow ups to the podcast. Click here for the main LeanBlog Podcast page with all previous episodes.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Hooray, your first female guest!

    We need follow ups with more women in the lean world, I know we’re out there.


  2. Just finished listening to this episode – I loved the subject matter! (I got some odd audio distortions this time that I haven’t gotten before, not sure what might have caused that).

    I would love to see another interview with Dr. Galsworth – especially digging in to visual controls and respect for people. I’ve seen so many examples where visual controls were used to disrespect people (you’ve linked some examples in your blog), can she talk about ways it was used to increase respect for employees? any examples where respecting people was the ‘visionary outcome’ and what visual methods were implemented?

    As well, I’d like to see more about visual cultures – what do they feel like? How do they interact with metrics – as in, how are visual workplaces measured?

    Thanks again to you both!


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