Podcast #287 – Harry Kenworthy, “Lean Government NOW!”


Joining me today for Episode #287 is another returning guest (see Episode #198), Harry Kenworthy. We're talking about his book, which will be released on Friday, Lean Government NOW! : Increase Service, Capacity and Employee Engagement While Reducing Costs and Wastes.

Harry was also a contributor to the book Practicing Lean, which is now available in audiobook format.

There's a great endorsement blurb from Dean Schroeder, one of the authors of some of my favorite books on “Kaizen” and improvement:

“Harry Kenworthy delivers a much needed book on how to improve the day-to-day operation of Government. From one of the leading experts in the field of process improvement in governmentLean Government Now! supplies a knowledge-rich treatment of the key elements and concepts critical to success in continuous improvement in government, from small towns to national-level departments.”
— Dean Schroeder, Ideas are Free and The Idea-Driven Organization

I've been involved with some “government healthcare” organizations in different countries, but have never delved into other parts of government. I'm glad Harry is doing so! This seems like a big challenge, but an important and necessary one. We're seeing some examples of success with Lean at the local and state levels around the U.S., it seems. I hope we see more.

I hope you enjoy our discussion whether you work in government or vote, pay taxes, or use government services (or all of the above!!).

I'm including a four-page PDF summary, as I've been doing recently.

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For a link to use for this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/287.

You can also listen to this on YouTube.

For earlier episodes of my podcast, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS, through Android apps, or via Apple iTunes.  You can also subscribe and listen via Stitcher.

Topics, Questions, and Links:

  • Related podcasts:
  • Tell us about your book Lean Government NOW!
  • What inspired you to write?
  • Who is the audience?
  • Are you seeing increased interest in Lean in government over the past three years since we last did a podcast together?
  • Can you talk about cost reduction vs. other goals?
  • In your KaiNexus webinar on your “Ten commandments of Lean,” you quoted a Toyota VP:
    • “The most important thing for Toyota is people. Toyota is all about teaching and training people and building a culture of continuous improvement.”
    • Is that close to being true in some government levels or agencies?
  • What are some examples of “one-stop shopping?”
  • What does “Practicing Lean” mean to you?
  • His clearing house site: http://leangovcenter.com/

Book Summary:

You can download a 4-page PDF summary of this post:

Video with Harry Kenworthy:


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. John Hunter says

    Those interested in improving management practices in government may find these useful:

    Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site

    Posts on my Curious Cat Management Improvement blog about the public sector

  2. Mark Graban says

    I’m very saddened to share the news that Harry passed away…

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