Podcast #358 — Steve Spear on Evolving our Knowledge and Learning on #Lean

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Returning to the podcast for Episode #358 is Steve Spear, a senior lecturer at MIT and author of the book The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition. He's also the founder and co-creator of a software company and product called See to Solve.

He's also the author of two outstanding Harvard Business Review articles: “Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System” and “Fixing Healthcare from the Inside, Today,” both of which we'll discuss today. One of the themes for this episode is the evolution of knowledge. What does that mean for a company and what does that mean for an esteemed researcher and professor like Steve?

Steve has a BS in economics from Princeton University, an MA in management and an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD from Harvard Business School. He was previously a guest in episodes #58, 87, and 262. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did!


Streaming Player:



For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/358.

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.


  • The “Rules in Use explained some of it… missing big parts of the management system” (from his 1999 article)
  • A3 problem solving as learning… a tool or a mindset?
  • Knowing versus figuring it out
  • Incrementalism – learning like “The Karate Kid”
  • Evolution is not just growing, but also deciding what to discard
  • Creating a community of scientists
  • Dr. Rick Shannon (my podcast with him)
  • The impact of the late Clayton Christensen on Steve and his work
  • Previous podcasts with Steve:
https://www.leanblog.org/2010/03/leanblog-podcast-87-steven-j-spear-phd-lean-in-healthcare/

Videos of Steve Spear:

See more via YouTube


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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