Reelecting a #Lean Governor in Washington? Continuing with Lean Either Way?

The 18th Annual "Evening with the Stars of Energy Efficiency" Awards Dinner
The 18th Annual “Evening with the Stars of Energy Efficiency” Awards Dinner

It's probably, ahem, not the most closely watched election race in the United States today, but it will be interesting to see if Washington reelects Governor Jay Inslee, pictured at left, a big support of “Lean Government” efforts in that state. See the “Results Washington” website, an initiative that dates back to the previous governor.

I wrote about his election and inauguration about four years ago:

A Lean Governor Inaugurated in Washington (State)

It sounds like a tight race this year, between Inslee and Republican challenger Bill Bryant.

I know Inslee has spoken at their annual state conference on Lean in government.

I remember that Inslee and his opponent in the 2012 race were both vocal supporters of Lean. This shouldn't be a partisan issue and I'm not making a partisan endorsement…

“Lean Management” Debated in the Washington Gubernatorial Race

I endorse Lean… for improving service to residents, creating better workplaces, and improving the efficiency of government.

See this webinar that KaiNexus and I hosted with Harry Kenworthy, a consultant in this space:

An article from last month:

Inslee Learns How Improvements Decrease DNA Testing Time By 20 Percent

Wa. Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste recently visited the Marysville Crime Lab to learn more about Lean principles that resulted in a sharp reduction of processing times for forensic DNA tests.

Thanks to the improvements, the lab was able to cut 18 days off the average turnaround time for DNA testing from 88 days to 70 days. This was a 20 percent reduction in processing times. In addition, the backlog of cases needing testing was cut by 10 percent and staff overtime dropped 56 percent, saving thousands of dollars a year.

I've been in a forensics lab once (a privately-run lab) and the batch-and-queue mindset and process was mind boggling. Writing the report took longer than the testing itself. Of course Lean can help.

[Forensic scientist] Hoffman and her team are still testing out new process improvements to make the lab more efficient.

“We have a culture of continuous improvement,” she said. “Employees are encouraged to come up with ideas to make the process faster and easier to deliver customer service.”

Lean isn't just a bunch of projects. It's a culture and a new way of managing. It's also not just about making a lab “more efficient” – it's about improving quality and other factors, like better customer service.

You can watch some video about this lab project (via Dropbox, if you can access it):


Read a case study and see the web page about these improvements.


Here's one other release about Inslee's Lean support:

Washington's role as a national leader in Lean government draws thousands to Tacoma

“We're using lean problem solving and collaboration to help employees manage the work and to serve people better. We're using those same approaches to work on challenges in education, public health, the environment and other areas.”

Governor Inslee

The impact?

…multi-agency teams are using lean principles to work on nearly 200 Results Washington goals centered around Inslee's top priorities of world-class education, prosperous economy, sustainable energy and clean environment, healthy and safe communities and efficient, effective and accountable government.

Congratulations to the people of Washington for their Lean progress. Now, if we could only have more of that here in Texas? And in Washington D.C.?

I voted early… I'm out of the country this week for work… everybody be good and be safe. And vote!

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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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