Podcast #116 – Jim Womack, His New Book “Gemba Walks”


MP3 File (run time 24:31)

Episode #116 is a chat with Jim Womack, founder and former Chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institue, now their Senior Advisor and author of the new book Gemba Walks, available in paperback, Kindle format, iBooks, and other formats.

Here, we talk about the new book, how a gemba walk differs from “management by walking around,” some of his most memorable walks, progress in lean healthcare, and other topics.

For a link to the episode, refer people to  www.leanblog.org/116.

We recorded two podcasts in the same sitting. Part two is Episode #118, with Jim's thoughts on recent developments with GM and Toyota, his reflections on the word “lean,” his thoughts on six sigma, and more.

For earlier episodes, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS or via Apple iTunes.

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.


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. Mark Graban says
  2. John Hunter says

    Very good interview. The analysis of the health care situation is excellent, though somewhat depressing. I do think there are a couple of quivers, in addition to lean, that can produce results.

    For one, there are some system wide changes (outside/above the level of any one organization) that could improve things. The current system has some extremely bad systemic issues that lean thinking could help with, but also they could be improved without lean thinking (partially because they are so bad there are lots of ways to improve).

    Secondly, Clayton Christensen’s ideas on disruptive innovation have huge applicability to health care, in my opinion. http://management.curiouscatblog.net/2009/02/19/applying-disruptive-thinking-to-the-healthcare-crisis/

  3. Mark Graban says

    You can also read this summary of the interview by the LEI’s Chet Marchwinski:


  4. […] Jim Womack, lean blog podcast #116 – Great, as you would expect. Includes a great explanation of the problems that have made adopting lean ideas in medicine, which somewhat counter-intuitively includes the reluctance to use the scientific method/pdsa to examine results. […]

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