Lean culture

All articles about Lean culture

Think like a child and let creativity flow
June 13, 2024
Think like a child and let creativity flow

FEATURE - Looking back to her experience coaching teams in Africa, the author encourages us to introduce play in our work, as a way of teaching people and of unlocking creativity.

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The five modes of a sensei
May 2, 2024
The five modes of a sensei

FEATURE – Variety in sensei approaches can cause a lot of confusion. The author sheds light on the subject by describing a sensei’s five modes of interacting with individuals and teams.

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Dojos change minds
April 25, 2024
Dojos change minds

CASE STUDY – Faced with safety and quality issues, this Brazilian manufacturing plant installed a dojo, and the results are very promising.

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Challenging standards
April 18, 2024
Challenging standards

CASE STUDY – Manuelita Sugar Mill in Colombia adopted Daily Management to bolster leadership effectiveness and operational outcomes, addressing siloed thinking and communication challenges.

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Unlocking the potential of Lean in NGOs
April 4, 2024
Unlocking the potential of Lean in NGOs

INTERVIEW - In this interview, Lynne Smith discusses the potential and difficulties of applying Lean Thinking to NGOs and looks back at the lean transformation at the Gates Foundation.

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Teaching/learning systems
March 22, 2024
Teaching/learning systems

FEATURE – To get the results we want from a system, or prevent it from generating undesirable events, we need to understand how it works and behaves in the real world. That’s exactly what Jidoka does.

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Women making a difference in lean and sustainability
March 8, 2024
Women making a difference in lean and sustainability

FEATURE – This article applauds the tenacity of women leaders and seeks to illustrate how they motivate others to take on the sustainability challenge through lean practices.

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Lean thinking, green thinking
February 29, 2024
Lean thinking, green thinking

FEATURE – When it comes to the fight against climate change, we can’t expect to achieve much until we fundamentally challenge the way we think about resource consumption. Lean is our tool to do that.

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The founders reflect on 10 years of Planet Lean
February 20, 2024
The founders reflect on 10 years of Planet Lean

FEATURE - The editorial board members of Planet Lean reflect on the magazine's origin story and its role within and contribution to the Lean Community.

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The power of jeans - Part 2
February 8, 2024
The power of jeans - Part 2

FICTION – In the second and final part of this story, the main characters discuss in front of a board. If you regularly use visual management, their conversation will resonate with you.

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The deep secret of lean transformation: the People Review
January 26, 2024
The deep secret of lean transformation: the People Review

FEATURE – To develop a lean culture means to develop each lean thinker and help them reach their full potential. Here’s how Aramis Group does it.

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The power of jeans
January 12, 2024
The power of jeans

FICTION - Part 1 of this story reminds us that the role of leaders in an organization is to set the example for others, behaving the way they want the rest of the company to behave.

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Lean without Jidoka is just Fordism
January 9, 2024
Lean without Jidoka is just Fordism

FEATURE – Nobody understands humans as well as humans do, and Jidoka is the key to learning about your customers and create ever-better products and services.

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If you learn, there is no failure
December 22, 2023
If you learn, there is no failure

FEATURE – In this article, you’ll understand how potential errors can become an endless source of personal and managerial growth.

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When the lean team is the problem
December 15, 2023
When the lean team is the problem

FEATURE – How does the improvement department of a company become a hindrance to the transformation? The author answers this question and discusses how this can be avoided.

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Leadership for everyone
December 12, 2023
Leadership for everyone

FEATURE – If you think one is born a leader, think again. Leadership can be learned and, in this article, the author provides a four-step guide to developing it.

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Join us at the largest online lean event of the year
November 3, 2023
Join us at the largest online lean event of the year
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EVENT - The Lean Global Connection is around the corner! Our editor takes you through some of the key highlights you can expect and reminds us of the idea behind the largest online lean event in the world.

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Swimming against the tide
October 19, 2023
Swimming against the tide

WEB SERIES - In this episode, we head to Chilean Patagonia to visit a manufacturer of fish feed that turned to Lean Thinking to improve yield and eliminate inventory gaps and stock-outs.

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Don’t ask who. Be like Columbo and ask why!
October 6, 2023
Don’t ask who. Be like Columbo and ask why!

FEATURE – This insightful piece explores the true meaning of problem solving, looking at the common mistakes leaders make when they adopt some of its key practices.

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The art and craft of kaizen
August 9, 2023
The art and craft of kaizen

FEATURE – Through kaizen, people can directly participate in the improvement work. But without a manager’s clear responsibility and follow-up, they will left alone with the consequences of the introduced changes.

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Lean gives us wings
July 26, 2023
Lean gives us wings

INTERVIEW – The lean journey of the Engineering and Maintenance Department of Colombian airline Avianca proves how important it is for leadership to spearhead change.

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The comfort of purpose
July 21, 2023
The comfort of purpose

FEATURE – Why is lean change so hard to achieve in times of plenty? And why does it seem to be more attainable when chaos reigns? The author tries to answer these questions.

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A new strategy for a new era
July 13, 2023
A new strategy for a new era

WEB SERIES – In the second episode of our docuseries on lean in Chile, we learn how, with a clear purpose and strong commitment from leadership, SKC is transforming its processes and mindset and building a competitive advantage.

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Can we still learn from Toyota suppliers in Japan?
June 14, 2023
Can we still learn from Toyota suppliers in Japan?

FEATURE – Fresh of a study tour in Japan, the authors wonder if there is anything left to learn from Toyota’s network of suppliers in the age of AI and digital. Hint: it’s a rethorical question.

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The lean playbook
April 28, 2020
The lean playbook

FEATURE – The author reflects on how lean organizations are reacting to the Covid-19 crisis and discusses the tough questions they are asking themselves.

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Transforming our way of managing using lean
November 4, 2021
Transforming our way of managing using lean

CASE STUDY – The turning point in this Colombian construction company’s transformation came when they started to embrace lean as a culture rather than just a set of tools.

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The lean magic lies in problem finding
September 27, 2021
The lean magic lies in problem finding

FEATURE – Reflecting on the recently published book by Nate Furuta, the author discusses the role that deep thinking plays in a problem-finding culture and warns us against ready-to-use solutions.

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Creating front-line leaders to solve problems at Nestlé
March 22, 2021
Creating front-line leaders to solve problems at Nestlé

INTERVIEW – In this Q&A, we learn how the Technical & Production (T&P) area of Nestlé Colombia Ecuador is using lean and Art Smalley’s four types of problems framework to bring leadership closer to the gemba.

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A lean view on... politics
February 22, 2021
A lean view on... politics

INTERVIEW – In another interview in our series that looks at global events from a lean perspective, we discuss politics, the challenges to democracy and the phenomenon of populism.

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A lean view on... strategic thinking
January 28, 2021
A lean view on... strategic thinking

FEATURE – For many organizations, devising effective strategies remains a gap to fill and that’s something lean can help with. Michael Ballé discusses strategic thinking with our editor.

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The role of “System 3” thinking
November 16, 2020
The role of “System 3” thinking

FEATURE – This compelling article explores how our brain constantly looks for emotional resonance with the environment around us. Is this System-3 type thinking the key to enabling joint problem solving?

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A lean view on... the media
September 28, 2020
A lean view on... the media

INTERVIEW – If we truly believe lean can change society, then we should use it as a lens through which to look into different aspects of our lives – even when those associations are hard to make. This month, we discuss the world of media.

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Learning our way to the top of the mountain
July 13, 2020
Learning our way to the top of the mountain
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CASE STUDY – By building Lean Thinking into its processes and culture and developing people’s capabilities, this Norwegian company serving the oil&gas sector achieved fantastic results.

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Enhancing your gemba skills
February 24, 2020
Enhancing your gemba skills

FEATURE – Michael Ballé shares a few tricks he uses to escape his default thinking and ensure he makes the most of every gemba walk he goes on.

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The Crab Method
February 17, 2020
The Crab Method

FEATURE – We hear it time and time again: in a lean transformation, middle management is the biggest hindrance to change. The author explains his strategy to win them over.

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Through hardship to the stars
July 25, 2019
Through hardship to the stars

CASE STUDY – Catalonia’s largest hospital is undergoing a successful transformation – supported by pioneering hoshin experiments – that has already turned it into a poster child for lean healthcare in the region.

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Better thinking for better lean thinking
February 7, 2019
Better thinking for better lean thinking

FEATURE – We tend to describe lean as a holistic approach to a transformation, but we won’t be able to truly embrace it until everyone starts to see the organization as a system.

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The depth of Lean Thinking
August 14, 2018
The depth of Lean Thinking

FEATURE – To really embrace lean thinking means to ensure the bureaucratic structures in our organizations enable our people to excel, rather than constrain their creativity.

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Our experience teaching lean at SulAmérica
August 13, 2020
Our experience teaching lean at SulAmérica

FEATURE – What does it take to support a lean transformation from within? The author reflects on the role of the lean team in the turnaround of Brazilian insurance company SulAmérica.

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Learning about environmental concerns and strategy at Toyota
July 12, 2017
Learning about environmental concerns and strategy at Toyota

INTERVIEW – It might seem a paradox that the world’s largest automaker is setting the pace for corporate social responsibility. Then again, Toyota never really followed the status quo. Kelly Singer interviews Toyota's Steve Hope.

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Creativity unleashed
March 8, 2023
Creativity unleashed

FEATURE – A lean coach from Argentina reflects on the transformations he has supported across Latin America and on why lean can help unlock the potential of the continent.

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Double interview: 365 and Dreamplace
February 28, 2023
Double interview: 365 and Dreamplace

INTERVIEW – Earlier this month, we attended a Lean Day at Dreamplace Hotels and Resorts in the Canary Islands. We sat down with two lean leaders to discuss the transformations of their businesses.

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Solving problems by developing people
January 13, 2023
Solving problems by developing people

INTERVIEW – Top leaders at Chilean company Elecmetal talk to us about how lean has transformed their role in the organization and how capability development is fuelling change.

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One-time customer, lifelong customer
January 10, 2023
One-time customer, lifelong customer

FEATURE – We start the new year with a reminder to put customers first, always. It is they who make our business and keep our lean initiatives true, says the author.

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Truth conquers all
October 14, 2022
Truth conquers all

FEATURE – Can lean relieve some of the pain and fear people experience in this crazy world? It can, says the author, because amid so much noise lean carries one truth.

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Advancing learning in a lean organization
October 11, 2022
Advancing learning in a lean organization

FEATURE – Our disposition towards learning changes depending on the amount of things we don’t know. The author explores this topic and the role of the sensei in enabling learning.

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Toyota: differentiation and vitality
June 14, 2022
Toyota: differentiation and vitality

FEATURE – Toyota recently achieved the #1 spot in sales in the United States after 90 years of leadership by GM, which shows how capable the lean management philosophy is to overcome difficult circumstances in the market.

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Self-organization, the Cossacks way
May 13, 2022
Self-organization, the Cossacks way

FEATURE – Resilience and the ability to self-organize have been part of Ukrainian culture for centuries. Today, as the war continues, the country’s companies and resistance are tapping into those values.

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A chat with Furuta-san
October 27, 2021
A chat with Furuta-san

INTERVIEW – PL meets the author of the recently published book Welcome Problems, Find Success, who discusses bringing lean to different cultures and changing managerial behaviors.

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Introducing the Lean Global Connection
October 25, 2021
Introducing the Lean Global Connection

VIDEO INTERVIEW - In this conversation with our editor, John Shook discusses Lean Thinking post-pandemic and its role tackling large-scale problems, and introduces an upcoming free event you don't want to miss.

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Don’t try to copy Toyota, understand it instead
September 13, 2021
Don’t try to copy Toyota, understand it instead

FEATURE – Based on his direct decades-long experience at Toyota, the author explains what it takes to establish problem-finding and a kaizen culture in new environments.

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Jishuken at Toyota Motor Kyushu
March 2, 2019
Jishuken at Toyota Motor Kyushu

INTERVIEW – A team from LGN just spent a week on the gemba with Toyota veteran Hideshi Yokoi for a jishuken exercise. We asked him to explain to us how he used this practice while at Toyota Motor Kyushu.

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How lean is securing the future of this digital advertiser
February 20, 2018
How lean is securing the future of this digital advertiser

CASE STUDY – How do you keep up with a market changing at the speed of light? The Chief Inventor of an Australian digital company explains how they are using lean to safeguard their future.

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Barcelona lean hospital given Honorable Mention in Taiwan
November 8, 2017
Barcelona lean hospital given Honorable Mention in Taiwan

INTERVIEW – The Consorci Sanitari del Garraf, a Catalan hospital PL has come to know well over the past few years, just won an Honorable Mention award at the World Hospital Congress.

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Corporate world: how does lean work in large organizations?
August 19, 2014
Corporate world: how does lean work in large organizations?

RESEARCH - This interesting study, based on 44 Volvo plants and 200 Volvo interviewees, looks at how the implementation of lean thinking influences a plant’s performance over time.

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How mental schemas have us jump to solutions
March 24, 2023
How mental schemas have us jump to solutions

FEATURE - Mental schemas help us to process information, but they often lead us to blindly jump to solutions without understanding the problem. Here, the author explains how Lean Thinking mitigates that risk.

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Reflecting on our 15-year journey
March 15, 2023
Reflecting on our 15-year journey

FEATURE – PL readers will likely be familiar with IOV, the cancer clinic in Brazil that’s become a reference for lean healthcare for countless organizations. Here, Dr Fred looks back at IOV’s 15-year journey.

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How cultural change has fueled our transformation
November 2, 2022
How cultural change has fueled our transformation

INTERVIEW – This metalworking company based in Poland has leveraged the cultural change brought by Lean Thinking to significantly improve its processes. Ahead of his presentation at the LGC, their lean manager tells us how they did it.

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Making lean relatable and meaningful
October 25, 2022
Making lean relatable and meaningful

INTERVIEW – General Electric’s Angie Norman talks to our editor about the lean journey of the company’s Finance department and how the area became a driver of GE’s overall transformation.

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Building our lean legacy
July 5, 2022
Building our lean legacy

CASE STUDY – We hear from a construction company in Chile that embarked on a lean journey in 2018 to transform its culture and improve the work on its many sites.

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5 ways to improve your connection with the gemba
May 31, 2022
5 ways to improve your connection with the gemba

FEATURE – The author discusses the practices that can help us make the most of the traditional mantra “go see, ask why, and show respect”.

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Seeing problems, four types of them
June 7, 2022
Seeing problems, four types of them

FEATURE – Using data from a recent piece of research on logistics, the author discusses how Lean Thinking contributes to a more efficient and effective way of dealing with problems.

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Cost calculation vs cost awareness
May 16, 2022
Cost calculation vs cost awareness

FEATURE – As inflation bites, the author offers us an insightful take into what it really means to understand a company’s costs. Hint, it doesn’t involve passing them on to customers.

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The theory of lean transformation
March 31, 2022
The theory of lean transformation

FEATURE – In this compelling theoretical piece, the author reminds us how in a lean organization relations are structured around learning opportunities rather than execution. This is what ultimately enables a company to grow.

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Lean learning, reinvented
May 3, 2022
Lean learning, reinvented

INTERVIEW – From hospitals to start-ups, lean principles have been applied far beyond their origins at Toyota. This article discusses how lean can be applied to learning – specifically, how we can apply lean learning to learning lean.

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8 key lessons from Toyota
May 10, 2022
8 key lessons from Toyota

ROUND-UP – Our editor looks back at the most insightful articles Planet Lean has published on the most talked-about company in the lean world. Here are eight key lessons from Toyota, straight from our archives.

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Lean and the 5th industrial revolution
February 7, 2022
Lean and the 5th industrial revolution

FEATURE – The author shares a few lessons learned on his company’s journey to Industry/Quality 4.0, the foundation to 5.0 Artificial Intelligence.

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Control or cooperate?
January 27, 2022
Control or cooperate?

FEATURE – Lean Thinking is about voluntary participation, not audits that are meant to ensure compliance. The authors explore the advantages of pursuing cooperation rather than control.

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Taking the next step
January 17, 2022
Taking the next step

FEATURE – How Lærdal Medical was able to enthusiastically restart its lean journey with help of a good old-fashioned Kaizen Week.

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People, invention, and radically great quality
July 1, 2021
People, invention, and radically great quality

FEATURE – The authors discuss radical quality improvement at Toyota and introduce a new book by Sadao Nomura that the Lean Global Network has just co-published.

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Once More, All Together Now: “JIT is …”
October 5, 2021
Once More, All Together Now: “JIT is …”

FEATURE – As global supply chain suffer ongoing disruption, the author addresses the misconceptions on Just-In-Time that keep appearing in the media.

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Kamishibai for better conversations at the gemba
March 29, 2021
Kamishibai for better conversations at the gemba

FEATURE – How do kamishibai boards work and what sort of benefits can they bring to a lean transformation? The author discusses what he saw on a recent gemba walk.

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Troublesome problems and threshold concepts
May 24, 2021
Troublesome problems and threshold concepts

FEATURE – Looking back on the lean journeys he's seen firsthand, the author concludes that a true lean transformation occurs when you establish lines of mentoring to the Thinking People System.

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Deep dive in a lean digital company #4
June 3, 2021
Deep dive in a lean digital company #4

FEATURE – This month, the author learns how gemba walks happen in a digital environment, where the work and information are typically hidden in computers.

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Keeping focus in a war zone
November 9, 2020
Keeping focus in a war zone

FEATURE – The author discusses the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the companies and the needs of individuals in her town of Maun, Botswana, and wonders what role lean can play in their lives.

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Overcoming structural racism with lean leadership
July 20, 2020
Overcoming structural racism with lean leadership

FEATURE – Can behaviors inspired by lean leadership help us to push back against our society’s ingrained racial bias? Our Brazilian colleagues discuss.

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Truly seeing the big picture
October 5, 2020
Truly seeing the big picture

FEATURE – In this personal account, the author explains how Lean Thinking inspires her painting process, debunking the myth that the methodology stifles creativity.

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A tool for effective marketing strategies
September 14, 2020
A tool for effective marketing strategies

FEATURE – Tools and framework help us to bring lean principles to life and act on our strategies. The author introduces the Lean Marketing Canvas.

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Passing down TPS across generations
June 29, 2020
Passing down TPS across generations

FEATURE – This intimate account looks back at the time one of the authors spent working with Harada-san and how it shaped his career and encouraged him to spread TPS knowledge.

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Learning to 'own it'
February 28, 2019
Learning to 'own it'

INTERVIEW – During his recent visit to California, our editor sat down with a Senior VP from Turner Construction to discuss leadership transformation and the importance of diversity in the workplace.

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Changing our dealership to changes lives in the township
March 6, 2018
Changing our dealership to changes lives in the township

FEATURE – The principal of the Halfway Ottery dealership explains how their lean culture based on respect and improvement is not only changing the business, but transforming the lives of people in the townships.

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Why we should create a learning environment in our companies
June 1, 2017
Why we should create a learning environment in our companies

COLUMN – Creating a learning environment that welcomes problems and experimentation and adapts to market changes should be our main objective. So why do we stick to obsolete ways to teach and develop people?

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An organic metaphor of the organization to truly grasp lean
December 15, 2016
An organic metaphor of the organization to truly grasp lean

FEATURE – We are used to seeing the organization as a mechanical entity, but how can a machine possible change and improve? We must change our mental model and learn to see the lean enterprise as a growing plant.

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Lean enables agile scale-up at Finnish Broadcasting Company
November 21, 2016
Lean enables agile scale-up at Finnish Broadcasting Company

CASE STUDY – The Finnish Broadcasting Company has been leveraging lean thinking to scale up its agile work. In the process, it has developed a greater understanding of customer value.

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A story of caring leadership and creativity
November 28, 2021
A story of caring leadership and creativity

FEATURE – A leader’s creativity and care for her people can lead to extraordinary results even in the most challenging of environments. As the latest LGN book comes out, the author reflects on one of the most impressive lean transformations you will come across.

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What my Toyota mentors taught me about problem-finding
September 20, 2021
What my Toyota mentors taught me about problem-finding

FEATURE – Introducing his book, the author tells us what his Toyota mentors taught him with their contrasting, but ultimately complimentary approaches to problem finding.

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Asking the right questions. Sure, but how?
March 11, 2021
Asking the right questions. Sure, but how?

FEATURE – This interesting article asks what it means to ask to right questions and explains why the way to success is learning about problems, not wondering whether solutions are wrong or right.

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Awakening
February 8, 2021
Awakening

INTERVIEW – The extraordinary events of the past year have encouraged lean organizations around the world to ask deeper questions about purpose and value creation, says Josh Howell.

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Caught between a rock and a hard place
February 25, 2021
Caught between a rock and a hard place

FEATURE – What is the role of middle managers in a transformation and how can we ensure they can fulfil that role – instead of being blamed for the failure of the initiative and even excluded from it?

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'Steel' going strong
March 1, 2021
'Steel' going strong

FEATURE – With the help of Lean Thinking, this Ukrainian producer of stainless steel pipes is retaining its competitive position against larger players in the market.

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The power of visual thinking
September 7, 2020
The power of visual thinking

FEATURE – How does visual thinking practically help an organization? The author discusses three different ways in which it can be used to benefit a business and help it to improve itself.

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Facing the emergency
April 1, 2020
Facing the emergency

NOTES FROM THE (VIRTUAL) GEMBA – In this new series - one new article every week during the Covid-19 crisis) - the author asks companies how they are reacting to this health emergency. First up, Proditec.

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Lean healthcare on the front lines
March 30, 2020
Lean healthcare on the front lines

FEATURE – Our coverage of the Covid-19 emergency continues with an article discussing how lean healthcare principles can support and protect the professionals at the front line of this war.

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Gemba walks: the common pitfalls
March 5, 2020
Gemba walks: the common pitfalls

FEATURE – The author discusses the most common mistakes leaders make during gemba walks and the things they need to keep in mind to make the most of this important management practice.

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Why bother with lean when we're all doomed?
March 16, 2020
Why bother with lean when we're all doomed?

FEATURE – When faced with a crisis, like the current one, it is natural to wonder, “Why bother?”. Yet, this is when we most need a growth mindset and a framework like lean thinking to figure out a way forward.

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Change management from the inside out
December 2, 2019
Change management from the inside out

FEATURE – The author discusses how the daily practice of lean thinking develops perseverance and the grit a leader needs to improve an organization.

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When startups visit Toyota
December 12, 2019
When startups visit Toyota

FEATURE – Digital organizations are starting to recognize that Toyota’s unique approach can show them the way forward, just like it does “traditional” organizations. Here, we hear from a few startup CEOs following their trip to Japan.

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Practice makes perfect
November 28, 2019
Practice makes perfect

FEATURE – Much like lean management, attaining perfection in music requires constant practice. The author looks back at his musical past and at a recent Lean Global Network samba gig.

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The synergies you need to succeed
July 11, 2019
The synergies you need to succeed

FEATURE – While at Starbucks, the author learned the importance of collaboration among the key functions of Operations, HR and Finance to advance a lean transformation.

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Fighting every single nugget of resistance
March 5, 2019
Fighting every single nugget of resistance

FEATURE – One year into its lean journey, this Lithuanian mining company is winning the hearts and minds of its people. Here, the management team reflects on how they are doing it.

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