TRIZ Inventive Problem Solving

TRIZ Inventive Problem Solving

Lesson
Is your company interested in improving its products, services, and systems but not sure where to start? It is very likely that a solution to your problem has already been discovered by another industry somewhere in the world. Many of the most innovative companies in the world apply TRIZ inventive problem-solving methods to innovate their products and processes. TRIZ (pronounced “(/ˈtriːz/”) is a Russian acronym that translates to "theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks" and is "a problem-solving, analysis and forecasting tool derived from the study of patterns of invention in the global patent literature."   TRIZ history TRIZ was first developed over 50 years ago by Russian inventor Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues. The team studied hundreds of thousands of published patents to discover patterns in the solutions…
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The Business Case for Lean

The Business Case for Lean

Lesson
Five Lean East case studies that show the benefits of Lean Thinking The Lean East team is focused on teaching and applying proven Lean Six Sigma principles and tools to develop high performing organizations. We focus specifically on organizations that provide customers with a service (i.e. healthcare, government, financial, insurance, education, construction, repairs, etc.) rather than a product. Lean Six Sigma has a long track record of success in manufacturing, but only recently became embraced by service-based industries. Some of our clients use Lean thinking as a strategic differentiator – far surpassing their previous results (and their competition). Some of our clients select us because of our expertise in Lean Six Sigma methodology. Other clients have “no idea what this Lean stuff is about.” Our goal in this post is…
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The Difference Between Push and Pull

The Difference Between Push and Pull

Lesson
  This post focuses on the difference between push and pull in Lean. The goal of Lean is for every process to “flow value at the pull of the customer.” The key terms in this statement are defined below: [caption id="attachment_3048" align="alignright" width="150"] This symbol represents "pull" in Lean value stream mapping[/caption] The ultimate Customer is the end-user – who the product or service is providing value for. The other customer is the next step in the process. What does the next step need, and when do they need it? Flow refers to how value is created in a process. In a “perfect process,” value is created during every step, without any waste (or delay) in the process. Value is defined by the customer (end-user or next step). Every step…
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Develop Scientific Thinking with Lean Kata

Develop Scientific Thinking with Lean Kata

Lesson
This month we are happy to share a simple yet powerful tool that will benefit any organization. It is the Lean Kata approach for developing a culture of scientific thinking at all levels of any organization.     What does the word “kata” mean? Kata is the Japanese word for “form” and refers to a detailed, choreographed pattern of movements practiced alone or in groups. Anyone who has ever practiced the martial arts has performed katas in front of a sensei to advance and earn additional belts. The kata allows the trainee to memorize and perfect the movements being executed so they can easily make the movements later using muscle memory. The Lean Kata was developed by Toyota and has been well described in the Mike Rother book, Toyota Kata:…
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Maximize the benefits of a huddle meeting

Maximize the benefits of a huddle meeting

Lesson
Workers often complain that meetings waste too much of their day. Work time spent in meetings has increased over the past 20 years, and a Harvard Business Review survey found over 70% of senior leaders believe meetings keep them from completing their work. We at Lean East believe that one meeting is more important than others for a team – the team huddle. Our team has worked with many organizations over the years and supported implementing and improving huddles. A well-run huddle is likely the single most effective meeting a leader will have with a team. We will answer eight common questions about huddles to help leaders and teams maximize the benefits.   What is the difference between a huddle and a scrum meeting? Let’s begin by clarifying the difference…
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Allowing For Trial & Error

Allowing For Trial & Error

Lesson
  We are pleased to offer our monthly lesson as a video post! You can read the lesson below, which is a formatted transcript of the presentation, or watch the 5-minute video embedded at the end.   Allowing For Trial & Error: A Better Way To Grow & Compete Have you ever worked in a place where the goal is to be unnoticed and the boss visits your area only if you are about to hear bad news? I have seen too many organizations where employees just go through the motions, doing what they are told. Raises and advancements at these workplaces are based primarily on not making mistakes. Employees are told what to do and managers make the decisions. There is no incentive to take on a challenge, learn new…
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Lean Innovation for Growth

Lean Innovation for Growth

Lesson
Our two previous posts introduced the Need for Lean Innovation and Lean Startup Thinking. In our conversations about Startup Thinking and Innovation, we want to clearly encourage that these innovation tools and strategies work for established companies equally as well as they do for start-ups. In fact, most of the companies Lean East supports are mature companies, not early-stage companies with a nascent product idea to test. In this post we will like to show that there are four primary types of innovation for existing companies, as presented by the Harvard Business Review article "You need an Innovation Strategy," Gary P. Pisano in 2015. The four types are described by whether they feature a business model innovation or technical competency innovation. Then we share three suggestions for existing companies who…
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The Need for Lean Innovation

The Need for Lean Innovation

Lesson
As recently as 15-years ago, most markets had few competitors and significant barriers to entry. Management would decide what product to build, budget the work and assign engineers and developers to the project team. New product development projects would often last for many years. Similarly, companies providing services would keep an eye on market competition and take the long-approach for releasing new offerings, often protected from competition by regional control and deep reputation. Today, the internet, open-sourced solutions, and social media have leveled the playing field. Consumers have one-click buying options for new products at their fingertips. New internet-based services disrupt long-standing businesses such as taxi transportation, insurance, legal services and healthcare. Customers will switch quickly and often to better solutions. Every day our world continues to become more complex.…
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Are you a “Super Nurse” on your Team?

Are you a “Super Nurse” on your Team?

Lesson
  Does your organization have a person on staff who everyone can go to in order to get a problem solved? For example, someone who knows how to obtain guest Wi-Fi access for a visiting contractor? Who is the same person who can always find that hidden file on the network, and knows how to correct the mistake in your EMR or MRP system? Perhaps your organization is a customer-facing business and this person also goes above and beyond to follow up with a customer who has a special request and double-checks every item before your product goes out the door. Picture a person on your team who matches this description. Or, are you that person on your team? People who save the day and rescue a team from disaster…
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Lean and Agile – Ideas that Work Together

Lean and Agile – Ideas that Work Together

Lesson
Five similarities between Lean and Agile Readers of our blog will be familiar with Lean fundamentals. Many of you have completed improvement projects or attended workshops such as our ‘Introduction to Lean Thinking’ course. Readers of our blog are past or current clients, or people we have connected with in LinkedIn Groups (we recommend Lean Six Sigma and Operational Excellence as great sources of information and energy). Likewise, many of our readers will know that the goal of Lean is to maximize customer value by minimizing non-value added “waste” in processes. Lean changes the focus of management from optimizing separate technologies, assets and vertical departments to optimizing the flow of products and services across technologies and departments. But what about Agile? Some members of our community have started to hear whispering of ‘Agile’ in the hallway -…
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