For some reason, I have been invited to give lots of speeches and classes lately, mainly on the topic of how to achieve process improvement in hospitals to improve quality and safety. I view this as a bit odd since I am just learning this stuff myself. Maybe people like to hear about the process in mid-stream. Anyway, I enjoy these sessions, getting to know new folks who are interested in the topic, but, as often as not, learning more from them than they do from me.
I tend to accept almost all invitations from colleges, non-profits, civic organizations, and also local businesses -- as my part of the educational mission of BIDMC. If I think they can afford it, I ask for a small honorarium to support programs in our hospital. I also get requests from those companies that organize expensive one- or two-day seminars for business people who want to travel. In those cases, I ask for a very, very large fee -- a large multiple of what they charge their attendees -- and then they usually find someone else!
Today's group was the Lean Educator's Conference, organized jointly by Professor Earll M. Murman at the Educational Network of MIT's Lean Advancement Initiative and another university group called LEAN. LEAN is affiliated with Jim Womack's Lean Enterprise Institute -- Jim is flanked in the picture above by Prof. Joe Sussman of MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Prof. Judy Hoffer Gittell of Brandeis University's Heller School. The invitation came because Earll had heard me talk last October at the National Academy of Engineering on "Adapting Process Improvement Techniques to Academic Medical Centers."
Since there may have been repeat listeners, I had to find some new jokes . . .