Turning “Waste” Into a Clever Acronym

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wrote about Kaizen the other day on LinkedIn and the first comment was from Dr. Leke Agbejule, BPharm, MSc, PharmD, from South Florida:

Very well said. As a Lean Six Sigma practitioner I live & consult by the “Kaizen” philosophy. I like the mantra of Patrick Davidson which says “Eliminate Waste & Create Flow” My definition of WASTE is Worthless Activities that Steal Time & Energy! Kaizen bursts will improve efficiency & effectiveness of your processes!

While, Lean is sometimes spelled as “LEAN” (even though it's not an acronym), I liked his clever turn of a phrase here.

What is waste? We could talk about the “eight types of waste” and bicker about “required waste” vs. “pure waste.”

But, when it comes down to it, waste is anything that doesn't “add value to the customer.” In healthcare, we might say waste is any activity that is not moving a patient along in the care process.

Waste is the activities that steal our time and energy. As I wrote about last week, we have to find ways to reduce waste so we can reclaim time and energy for nurses, rather than just hiring more.

I created this graphic… feel free to use it and share it.

Worthless Activities that Steal Time & (1)

Leke says he coined the phrase himself, so I appreciate him sharing it. Check out his blog here.


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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.

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