I hope you'll join me to view a KaiNexus webinar that I'm hosted today. The topic is near and dear to my heart (as well as to others at KaiNexus): collaboration, learning, sharing.
Our presenters were Teresa Hay McMahon, the Executive Director of the Iowa Lean Consortium and one of the ILC members, Stephanie Hill, Corporate Continuous Improvement Manager at Kreg Tool Company. Kreg is, coincidentally, a KaiNexus customer.
You can view the recording if you register here.
In this webinar you will:
- Learn how the Iowa Lean Consortium brings together Lean practitioners from every sector of the economy
- Learn the difference between benchmarking, networking, and collaboration
- Understand why collaboration is critical to continually improving
- Hear examples of benefits gained through presenters' experiences
- Identify ways to increase collaboration to achieve goals
You can listen to a preview of the webinar where I interviewed Teresa on the KaiNexus Podcast:
Why Collaboration Matters to Me
I've long seen the benefits of organizations collaborating with each other. My graduate school program at MIT, Leaders for Global Operations, is very much a collaborative effort. In the 1990s, the focus was “American manufacturers” competing against the rest of the world and collaboration through MIT was one way to do so (the program used to be called “Leaders for Manufacturing.” The world has changed and everybody is a “global manufacturer” these days. But the collaboration remains amongst the sponsor companies… some of which aren't even manufacturers.
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When I lived in Phoenix from 2001 to 2005, I was involved in an informal local group called the Valley Lean Council. I shared some of the story in the preface to my book Lean Hospitals:
“Later, after finishing graduate school, I was working in Phoenix, Arizona, and was part of an informal network called the Valley Lean Council, a group of Lean zealots from different companies who met quarterly to compare notes and tour a facility. One of those tours was a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona, that was using Lean methods to improve its emergency department. That was my first exposure regarding the applications of engineering to healthcare since my senior project, and it really piqued my interest. Shortly thereafter, my wife had a new job offer in Texas, which put me on the job market.”
That collaboration opened my eyes, which opened doors into healthcare. Our efforts in Phoenix were more about networking and learning… a tiny bit of benchmarking (more about learning), but not really any formal collaboration between us other than the discussions during the site visits.
When I worked for the Lean Enterprise Institute from 2009 to 2011, I was heavily involved in a group called the Healthcare Value Network, run through the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value (now “Catalysis“). At first, I think we had about a dozen healthcare organizations in the U.S. and Canada who committed to learning, sharing, and collaborating. Over time, that group has grown to over 60 organizations that are members.
They don't just meet up at the annual Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit. These organizations are visiting each other throughout the year, through what Catalysis calls “Gemba Visits.” And, there's a lot of informal networking that happens online, over the phone, and through private visits.
As I've moved around the country, I've been a part of or met with collaboration groups, such as:
- Lean DFW – mostly a LinkedIn Group that occasionally meets up in person
- Massachusetts Healthcare Lean Network
- Lean Central Florida – a group we're trying to get started
- Bay Area Performance Improvement Network
What are your experiences with different Lean collaboration groups or networks? What has the benefit been to you and your organization? Or, what would you like to see happening in your area?
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Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation: