#ThrowbackThursday: Past #Lean April Fools’ Day Fun


Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 7.58.04 AMIt's been a tradition of mine here, since 2010, to present a Lean April Fools' Day joke.

You might have noticed, but I've had more guest posts the past two weeks. My wife and I have been finally doing our physical move from San Antonio to the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

Last week, we closed on a house and I had to manage some contractors. This past week, I was helping manage the movers… lots of things going on and blogging wasn't a high priority.

There's a blog post in me (to be written) about our attempt to buy a house that was being built… and why we chose to back out due to a number of problems with the builder. So, we bought an existing home… which always has different types of problems. But, we're in.

Anyhoo… here are my past April Fools' gags:

2010: A New Way to Learn Lean? Wii Lean!

This post, imagining a game for Nintendo Wii that would somehow teach you Lean in an interactive way was a lot of fun to put together. The “Wii Ohno Circle” coffee mug that I still use still makes me smile. Yes, this was a game that measured how long you could stand in an “Ohno Circle” watching people, like Charlie Chaplain, work. This one might have fooled a few people for real, based on the comments… or maybe they were playing along.


2011: New “A3″ App Utilizes Two iPads & Virtual Sensei Technology

This post allowed me to imagine how you might use two iPads to create a workspace that's roughly 11″ x 17″, the size of an A3 to actually draw and do an A3 on that device instead of paper. The post foreshadowed LEI's (now defunct?) “A3 Creator App,” a project that I had no inkling of when I created this (their app only used a single iPad).


2012: April Fool: Back to the Future: Hospital CEOs and Virtual Reality “Gemba Bots”

This post, where I imagined a mobile robot that would allow executives to “do Gemba walks” from their home or office, probably made me laugh more than others.

The thing I enjoyed the most was creating some audio of what an earlier-generation “Blame Bot” might sound like on the move… included bad, forced chit chat with employees and blaming people instead of having real in-depth discussions or actually listening.

2013: Baby's First Lean Book

Not having any children myself, I could only imagine what a Lean book for kids might be, but this post was my attempt at creating this. To my knowledge, this has NOT foreshadowed a Lean book series for kids.

Probably my favorite part of this project was commissioning the “Baby Lean Guru” pictures (although I wouldn't readily accept that label for myself). Strange that we all have facial hair.

lean babies

Nobody sued me over this, thankfully.


2014: The 10 Best Lean Management Secrets You'll Ever Want to Learn & Use

lean blog goldMaybe not my best work in this genre, but it was a “clickbait” headline with a post where I announced that I was turning LeanBlog.org into a paid membership site.

I don't think anybody believed that one, which is good, I guess…

Unrelated Posts Not Recommended For You:

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 5.10.18 PM


2015: April Fool 2015 — Announcement: Lean Blog is now “Lean Buzz” with Listicles, Polls, and MORE CATS!

Last year, I announced that Dr. Les Muda (the world's first Lean standup comic) had bought the site and was turning it into a Buzzfeed-type site, with listicles, silly polls, and more goofiness.

lean buzz les muda

2017: Coming Soon – 4th Revised Edition of “Lean Hospitals”

2018: Special Announcement: Our New @KaiNexus Suggestion Box Builds on Proven Box Technology

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 articleResistance is Futile? Practical Change Techniques for All Levels of Your Organization
Next articleStill Settling In After Moving; Not Blaming People for Their Best Efforts
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. Mark:

    My sensei introduced me to Dr. Les Muda years ago and I have been chasing him since. Are you still in touch with him?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

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