Lots of interesting stuff in the news and on the Net lately.
Change can be tough
Lean Government Gaining Traction
Good to see lean front and center in state and local government all over the place as we roar toward election day.
The Seattle Times comments on an interesting exchange between Democrat and Republican candidates ... seems they agree that the big failing of the current governor, Christine Gregoire - a real lean leader - is that she hasn't been aggressive enough in pursuing lean.
Over in New Hampshire, outgoing governor John Lynch highlighted considerable lean success under his watch in a Lean Summit for New Hampshire.
The Lean Start Up
I am often asked for advice for start up companies that want to be lean from the get-go. My typical response is that just about all companies are lean at the beginning - customer and cash driven - low overhead - everyone wearing multiple hats and working cross-functionally. The trick, I tell them, is to avoid becoming non-lean as they grow and start to think they need a lot of staff, computers and policy manuals. Seems that is not always true, however, as this article from the Christian Science Monitor points out ... not a mention of the term lean but great advice for a start up that wants to do it right.
The Rise and Fall of Polaroid
Always good stuff on Brain Pickings ... this tale of how Polaroid shot up like a bottlerocket, and subsequently dropped like a stone offers some interesting lessons for the innovation driven folks.
The Doc is Way Out There
Doc Hall is one of those guys who can see several horizons beyond those visible to us mere mortals. For those unfamiliar with him, Doc was an APICS guy who, long before the term 'lean' was coined to describe what Toyota was doing, saw it as a fundamental shift in thinking that was vital for the American manufacturing community to embrace if it were to survive. Failing to convince APICS to shake away from its MRP obsession, he led the breakaway that became AME - the Association for Manufacturing Excellence.
One of the highlights - probably THE highlight - of the annual Lean Accounting Summit for me is getting to spend some time with Doc once a year. His current passion is driving a vision that is way beyond lean he calls 'Compression'. It is worth following ... safe bet that the world will eventually catch up with Doc's thinking and what seems mysterious today will soon become regarded as common sense. Click here to see what Doc is cooking up at the Compression Institute.
Never Over-Estimate Academic Thinking
While the politicians are rushing to embrace lean, much of academia is racing in reverse at break-neck speed. For a brief comedic interlude I offer the comments and observations of Professor Annavajhula J C Bose of Delhi's Shri Ram College of Commerce, who has come to the conclusion that lean is really just the systematic abuse of workers. The good professor might want to consider the possibility that India's whole economic gig is the systematic abuse of workers - offering itself up as a cheap labor hub on a grand scale - and that companies wanting to be truly lean rather than labor abusers aren't likely to be found in India in the first place.