Robert De Niro, #Lean Thinker?

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The other day, I was reading the latest issue of Esquire magazine, with an interview with the famed actor Robert De Niro.

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One thing he said reminded me of Lean and the Toyota Production System:

DeNiro said:

“Sometimes if you have financial restraints, it's a benefit. It forces you to come up with a more creative way.”

This is classic Toyota thinking. The idea of putting “creativity before capital” is a core mindset of the Lean approach.

Toyota, after WWII, didn't have a lot of resources. That financial situation led to the necessity of creativity and different thinking.

Hospitals, today, often ask for “more people, more space, more money” when there is a problem. Maybe this coming era will force hospitals to put creativity before capital? Seattle Children's Hospital has avoided $180 million in capital spending by using Lean methods and process improvement instead of just more money.

More hospitals can follow that lead. And we'll all be better off – patients, staff, and the hospitals.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Andrew Feinberg

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3 Comments
  1. synfluent says

    I can think of no better example of creativity in healthcare than an Army M.A.S.H unit.

    However, I hope that the quality of future healthcare in the US, now facing a population-driven healthcare bubble, will exceed those units by a mixture of our soon-to-be-found creativity and sufficient capital.

    1. Mark Graban says

      With the coming demographic boom – the mix of retiring nurses and other healthcare professionals – we will have increased demand and decreased supply/capacity.

      As Tiny Tim (the Dickens character, not the falsetto singer) said, God help us, every one.

      We will more readily find creativity than capital, I’ll assume.

  2. Mark R Hamel says

    Hi Mark,

    Maybe De Niro is the new godFocker of lean!?

    Happy New Year.

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