Thursday, October 16, 2014

New word: "maieutikos"

Among the joys of teaching Lean process improvement with people like the Lean Institute Africa's Norman Faull are the unexpected language lessons. Today at a Best Care Always workshop in Johannesburg, Norman posted the slide seen above.


I'll let you read the slide to get the meaning and context.  Your homework assignment is to now use it in a sentence during the next 24 hours!

Beyond that item, Norman related a conversation he once had with John Shook, of the Lean Enterprise Institute.  John speaks Japanese and Norman was confirming with him that gemba means the place (e.g., the factory floor) where work is done and value is created for the consumer.

John said, that while true, in Japan gemba is often used to mean "crime scene."  In that sense, going to gemba is equivalent to investigating the crime, trying to put the pattern together.  Think of Columbo, the TV detective, visiting a crime scene and slowly and persistently teasing out the evidence to find the guilty party.

Your Lean task, in going to gemba, is to discern the pattern of evidence about a flawed production or service process.  You then divine from that investigation possible experiments that will help solve the riddle of your next step of process improvement.

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