Lean Startup Conference Talk – Parallels to Lean Hospital Design


Although I blog most often about Lean healthcare, I know a good number of my blog readers are from the “Lean Startup” world who like reading about general Lean leadership concepts. I hope to meet many of you at Eric Ries' Lean Startup Conference, December 3-4 in San Francisco.

I am participating in the “Ignite” speaking session on Sunday, December 2 – I have five minutes and 20 slides (that automatically advance every 15 seconds) to talk about Lean in healthcare. Yikes.

I've never done an Ignite talk. I've been working feverishly, as it takes way longer to prepare a 5-minute talk than it does to prepare a 50-minute talk. I will be talking about the parallels between the Lean Startup methodology and the “Lean Design” methodology that's being used to design and build better hospitals.

I have my own experiences in two startups… Factory Logic, from 2000-2004, which was very much a “traditional” startup, and KaiNexus, where we use many Lean Startup principles and methods.

The traditional hospital design and construction cycle is very much like traditional “waterfall” software development. Lean Design engages hospital staff and patients very early in the process, in a very collaborative approach. Lean Design, like Lean Startup, recognizes that you can't work forever on the perfect design (or perfect startup product) that you have to start testing with real users and going through many iterative improvement cycles.

While software is very flexible and changeable (at KaiNexus, we push out two new versions of our web/cloud application twice a week or more), a hospital (as “brick and mortar” is harder to change” once built. That's why the Lean Design process includes lots of prototyping with cardboard, taped off areas, and plastic sheeting that forms mocked up rooms and units that staff and patients can test. That way, you go through the “Build, Measure, Learn” cycles (ala Lean Startup) before the space has actually been built. The hospital takes input from “users” and iterates the design before it's built. It's far cheaper to change the hospital when it's a mockup…

Anyway, I hope it will be a thought-provoking five minutes for the attendees. As the last email from the conference said, “Also: booze.” is an added feature of Ignite.

Let me know if you'll be there at Ignite or the main conference.

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articleArchive of Free Webinar – Greg Jacobson, MD on Kaizen for Healthcare
Next articleVisiting the Toyota Museum in Nagoya
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.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.