Podcast #342 – Adam Ward on Lean Design in Healthcare


My guest for Episode #342 of the podcast is Adam Ward, the author of Lean Design in Healthcare: A Journey to Improve Quality and Process of Care.

Adam is an innovation process expert and independent advisor. He spent the first 12 years of his career designing cars for Honda and the next 12 years working with Fortune 500 companies to turn around their product development process. A resident Buckeye, he coaches students at Ohio State's MBOE program.

In this episode, we discuss his early days at Honda and how he made a career transition into healthcare. We'll talk about the story behind his book and some of his experiences and practices that are transferrable — going from “simultaneous engineering” to “Lean design.” What are some of the most common failures? How can we coach leaders so they aren't giving just lip service to these methodologies? We discuss all of that and more…

Streaming Player:

For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/342.

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

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  • Tell us about your background and career path…
    • How did you get from Honda to healthcare?
      • “Simultaneous engineering”
    • What are the differences between Honda and Toyota?
  • How did you first get introduced to Lean?
  • What led to the writing of the book?
    • Why a story format?
  • What is Lean Design?
    • What is innovation?
    • What are the problem statements or situations that would lead an organization to Lean Design?
      • What forces stifle innovation in healthcare?
    • What is the “Simpler Design System”?
  • How does one REALLY understand the voice of the customer… deeply?
    • What does it mean to really be patient-centered?
  • What are “the most common failures” in this approach and how can they be avoided?
    •  the biggest waste is creating something new……that nobody wants?
  • Can you talk about the importance of executive relationships in getting an innovation team going?
    • What if leaders only give lip service to innovation?

Thanks for listening!

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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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