Podcast #129 – Chris Cooper, on His Book “The Little Book of Lean” and Simpler Consulting


My guest for episode #129 is Chris Cooper, a vice president with Simpler Consulting. We're talking about his new book The Little Book of Lean.

We discuss his career in Lean and the background of his book, which is intended to be a simple introductory primer for those who are new to the methodology. Chris has worked in aerospace, as well as military and non-profit applications of Lean.

For a link to this episode, refer people to  www.leanblog.org/129.

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

About Chris Cooper:

Joining Simpler in 2002, Chris Cooper has over 20 years of leadership experience in the delivery of successful large-scale Lean transformations across a broad range of industries, companies and countries. His industry segment experience includes aerospace, defense, military, finance, marketing, health care, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO).

Chris's Lean journey began in 1989 as a student of the Kawasaki Production System (KPS) while working for Europe's largest defense company, BAE Systems. During this time he became part of the leadership team that drove the company's Lean transformation of the defense division all the way to a value stream organized company winning a Queen's Award for Export. As a result, Chris was promoted to be the company's first Integrated Product Development Team Leader (IPT) position to introduce set-based- concurrent-engineering methods to Europe. During this period Chris was trained in six sigma and design six sigma by Motorola, Inc. As the IPT leader he won a Chairman's Award for Innovation and a McDonnell Douglas Supplier award for introducing Lean techniques beyond the shop floor. Directly before joining Simpler, Chris was the Lean Advisor to the Eurofighter Program, then the world's largest non-U.S. based military program, where he worked as a member of the Chief Engineer's staff team.

Chris's professional career in Lean and six sigma consulting began in 2002 when he joined Simpler in the early days of European expansion. As a member of the European leadership team, he has helped grow the business ten-fold since. Chris has been at the forefront of the Lean revolution speaking at conferences, working with executive teams, and as an assessor for the Shingo Prize. He has been the sensei for many significant and pioneering Lean transformations and has often introduced Lean concepts to new sectors and organizations in the commercial business and non-profit fields. As Vice President, Chris leads a multi-cultural team of consultants working in more than ten languages throughout Europe and Asia.

Chris has authored The Simpler Little Book of Lean and co-authored Lucky by Design with Rob Westrick.

Chris is an Aeronautical Engineer through his formal apprenticeship program with BAE Systems, and has a Business and Technology (BTEC) Higher National Diploma (HND) from the University of Humberside. He lives in the North West of England with his wife and two children.

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
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. Hi Mark,

    Chris comment about the new generations of knowledge is absolutely spot on. It is amazing how many times in my career have heard solutions to the effect of “idouble turnover and we will become profitable” or “we are too small to compete”. On a larger scale look at how many mergers and acquisitions fail (and thus destroy wealth) following the same logic of bigger is better.

    Good to hear an authentic Northern English accent too……


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