I’ve been collaborating with the Lean Institute Africa for the past six months and the collaboration has now been formalised. As such, Lean Institute Africa will be posting some of my blogs on the news section of their webpage.
A bit of background about Lean Institute Africa (LIA): they were formed in 2008 as a non-profit organisation in South Africa. LIA uses applied research approaches to implement the lean management philosophy. Prof Norman Faull, LIA chairman describes lean as a management process for creating thinking people and eliminating waste.
One of the aspects of the lean philosophy that speaks to me is the concept of gemba (going to the problem or place of work and seeing). From a lean perspective, problems are not addressed from a boardroom, intellectual discussion or based on opinion. Rather, in-depth knowledge about a problem is gained in an empirical way, at the actual place of work, involving the actual people performing the task. The actual ’workers’ are coached to think about the problem and solve it in a scientific way of experimentation until the most appropriate solution is found.
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. Antoine de Saint-Exupery
If you search for patterns in my blogs you would’ve gathered that I strongly believe in continuous learning and I am constantly exposing myself to new experiences. Another thread that you might have identified is that I use narratives or stories to shape perceptions and I believe that stories are an underutilised resource for influencing culture when implementing, improving and innovating the workspace. I’ve addressed this as a conference speaker on a few occasions. My passion for storytelling is well-suited to the standardised storytelling approach (A3 problem-solving), as used by lean methodology.
The Lean Institute Africa has increasingly been involved with public health sector improvement and as you may have gathered from my other blogs, this is something I am very passionate about.
“Now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it’s perhaps the end of the beginning.” Winston Churchill
More good news is that whilst writing this blog I was asked to participate in writing a few blogs for the Emergency Nurses Society of South Africa (ENSSA), so I’ll still be writing about emergency medicine, access to care and more clinical nursing topics.