Sunday, January 13, 2013

Leaning at Mt. Scopus

I am in Jerusalem and joined with a colleague to conduct a couple of workshops for senior managers and physicians on the basics of Lean process improvement.  As I have noted before, the introduction of Lean into a hospital or any other complex organization is not something to be undertaken lightly.  Lean is not something you do, like a short-term project.  It requires a tremendous commitment on the part of the leadership, extensive training, and the patience to spend years on infusing the Lean philosophy throughout the organization.

Today's workshops at the Mt. Scopus campus of Hadassah Medical Organization were therefore meant to be introductory in nature.  We started with the excellent Toast Kaizen video produced by Bruce Hamilton of GBMP.  Using the seemingly simple preparation of toast in the domestic setting, Bruce demonstrates the various types of waste that occur in organizations.  He helps viewers see these forms of waste in a way that is elegant and simple.

We followed with two simulation games that are designed to teach a couple of aspects of Lean techniques and approaches.  The first game is intended to teach the value of the 5S  system of reorganizing spatial settings.  Students are given sets of numbers in different patterns and ask to perform functions with them.  The process gets easier and more accurate as they apply the steps of 5S improvement: (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain).  As you can see below, our game provokes lots of laughter and engagement.  We seek to break down the defensive barriers to learning as we use non-work-related examples to teach the principles that can then be applied in the workplace.

The second game was designed to teach the difference between batch and continuous flow processes.  While there is a place for both in organizations, there is a tendency for hospitals to create batch processing where continuous flow processing might be more effective in serving customers and in enhancing the work environment.  Our group was divided into two teams, one performing a series of tasks (fold paper, stuff envelope, address envelope, stamp envelope) in a flow pattern and one doing the same in a batch process.  The frustration of the staff involved in the later stages of the batch process--as they awaited the work to arrive to them--was palpable, as you can see below!  Lesson learned.

1 comment:

e-Patient Dave said...

That Toast video is nifty - too bad it's just ABOUT the toast DVD. I guess GBMP found a way to generate a revenue stream for themselves - that's smart - a lesson for me in my work!

I'm starting to create similar workshops to introduce patient engagement, so I was struck by your opening, which modifies easily to:

"the introduction of patient engagement into a hospital or any practice is not something to be undertaken lightly. It's not something you do, like a short-term project. It requires commitment on the part of the leadership, extensive training, and the patience to spend years on infusing the philosophy throughout the organization."