Lean Learning Opportunities in Texas and Japan – Toyota is the Common Thread, One Has Whiskey


I'm excited to share two interesting opportunities to further our learning about Lean. One is a Texas-based event in September and the other is Japan-based, in October. Info about them is below:

Symposium on Learning Organizations: Lean, Agile, Deming and More

This first event is something I'm co-organizing with Joel Tosi and Dion Stewart, who work together in the software space.

We are trying to bring together a group of up to 40 people from various disciplines, including agile software development, Lean manufacturing, Lean healthcare, etc., for a unique learning opportunity. It's being held September 26 and 27, 2018.

Some of the highlights:

  • Two days of learning, sharing, and networking in a group of no more than 40 people
  • Tour the San Antonio Toyota plant together
  • Debrief and discuss on a bus headed toward the acclaimed craft distillery, Garrison Brothers
  • Tour the distillery and continue talking about Toyota, lean, etc.
  • Stay overnight in Fredericksburg, TX
  • The second day is a PowerPoint-free learning zone, with “open space” format discussions that allow participants to talk about issues and questions that matter to them
  • We'll also do some interactive learning exercises, like the famed “Red Bead Experiment
  • Did I mention NO POWERPOINT?

The registration price includes bus transportation for the two days, breakfasts, and lunches. It also includes the cost of the Garrison Brothers tour, event space use, etc.

You can find more info and registration details here.

I hope you can join us!

EDIT: Here's a video I made in August:


Honsha Executive Development Mission

The second opportunity is a trip I've been invited to attend with my friends from Honsha, Darril Wilburn and Sammy Obara, who are former Toyota people and fellow Lean Enterprise Institute faculty members with me.

(EDIT — this trip is full)

This tour is being held October 7 to 13, 2018 – in Japan.

I've mentioned Darril on the blog before, usually quoting him as saying:

“It's the responsibility of leadership to provide a system in which people can be successful.”

Dan Markovitz and I will both be on the tour as guest faculty and facilitators.

This tour is longer and more expensive than our experience in Texas.

Unlike previous tours that I've helped Kaizen Institute with, this Honsha tour is not healthcare focused. It's going to be a group of attendees from around the world with various backgrounds.

As we're trying to do with the Texas event, we hope that diversity of background leads to great discussions and unique learning environments.

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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.


  1. For the Texas event, we currently have people registered from manufacturing, healthcare, software, retail, and an attorney. What a diverse group of people to learn from!

    I hope you can join us.


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