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Lean Blog Interviews

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Mark Graban interviews leaders, innovators, and practitioners in the Lean methodology and management system. Topics include Lean manufacturing, Lean healthcare, Lean startups, and Lean enterprises. Visit the blog at www.leanblog.org. For feedback, email mark@leanblog.org Continue Reading >>
Mark Graban interviews leaders, innovators, and practitioners in the Lean methodology and management system. Topics include Lean manufacturing, Lean healthcare, Lean startups, and Lean enterprises. Visit the blog at www.leanblog.org. For feedback, email mark@leanblog.org << Show Less
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Luke Szymer on Agile, Testing Hypotheses, and Process Behavior Charts Founder of “Launch Tomorrow.”
Episode page with transcript, video, and more
My guest for Episode #452 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Luke Szyrmer. He's the founder of “Launch Tomorrow.” He helps new technology products get to market faster (even remotely).
Luke is the author of the books Align Remotely: How to achieve together, when everyone is working from home and Launch Tomorrow: Take Your Product, Startup, or Business From Idea to Launch in One Day.
He's the host of the highly rated “Managing Remote Teams” podcast. He comes from a product management background and has a BA in Economics and English from the University of Pennsylvania.
He's joining us on the podcast from Poland.
Today, we discuss topics and questions including:
Background question — How did you get introduced to Agile, Lean Startup, things like that?
“Fuzzy side of innovation”?? — time wasted 20-30 years ago?
Doing the wrong things righter?
Tampering – and increasing variation
Processes for creating software?
When you were reading about “Lean Manufacturing”? How does that resonate with? How does that relate to you and your work?
How easy is it to estimate “story points”?
Lean Thinking – batch vs flow… physical flow vs. work flow — Adaptations to the flow of software?
Takt time – how to translate this in terms of required software, requirements, points
How did you learn about Process Behavior Charts?
Why did that resonate with you?
How do you incorporate PBCs into your work?
Counting physical products vs. story points (something more esoteric)?
Landing pages – product or service that doesn't exist yet
What to test BEFORE a landing page?
How to make a good decision with limited data points?
What's so powerful about testing an idea as a hypothesis?

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.
This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network.
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Alan Robinson on Continuous Improvement for All and Practical Innovation in Government Episode page: https://leanblog.org/451
My guest for Episode #451 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Dr. Alan G. Robinson. He specializes in managing ideas, building high-performance organizations, creativity, innovation, quality, and lean production. He is the co-author of 13 books, many of which have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.
Dr. Robinson is on the faculty of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. and M.A. in mathematics from the University of Cambridge.
He has served on the Board of Examiners of the United States' Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and on the Board of Examiners for the Shingo Prizes for Excellence in Manufacturing.
He's a returning guest (Episode 217) – talked about one of his previous books (co-authored with Dean Schroeder) — The Idea-Driven Organization.
His bestselling book, Ideas Are Free, co-authored with Schroeder, was based on a global study of more than 150 organizations in 17 countries. It describes how the best companies go about getting large numbers of ideas from their front-line employees, and the competitive advantages they gain from this.
His new book, available now, also co-authored with Schroeder is Practical Innovation in Government: How Front-Line Leaders Are Transforming Public-Sector Organizations.
Today, we discuss topics and questions including:
As we've learned from you previously… “Roughly 80 percent of any organization's improvement potential lies in front-line ideas.” — Potential?
Continuous Improvement vs Innovation? Used to draw a distinction
The Tesla factory doesn't have the continuous improvement culture of NUMMI?
How much progress have you seen in terms of executives understanding the power of engaging everybody in bring forward and implementing ideas?
Alan's first book was with Shingo — “mass creativity”
UMass Memorial Health — 100,000 ideas and your role helping them?
Tell us about the new book — what prompted you and Dean to write this for this audience? What prompted the research?
Educating / influencing elected leaders vs. career government employees
The role of front-line leaders vs. senior leaders vs. elected officials?
Non-partisan – almost 50/50 from their research party wise
The phrase “practical innovation”?
Does adopting these practices mean we are “running government like a business”?? 
Adoption at local (including schools), state, or federal levels?
Does “practical innovation” get past pointing simply to budgets as a barrier?
Demanding cost savings or ROI is a kiss of death for improvement?
1841 — Original article that invented cost/benefit analysis… “only useful for the simplest…”
“Why cost/benefit analysis is stupid“
Would we expect government in Japan to be a leader in Kaizen?
Just the Lean Talk 2 -- Mark Graban & Jamie Flinchbaugh Discuss Lean Supply Chains As I did two weeks ago, when Jamie Flinchbaugh and I talked about “Lean 101” training (and should you skip it), I'm sharing another episode (as a “bonus” episode in the “Lean Blog Interviews” podcast series), a “just the Lean talk” discussion.
This comes from Episode #27 where we started the episode by taking a deep dive into coffee (making it and drinking it at home) instead of talking whiskey. We were recording in the morning, so whiskey wasn't appropriate. The weather was nice, so Jamie was sitting outside, so we get to hear some birds in his background.
Again, we know many of you don't care about the whiskey talk (or coffee talk), but Jamie suggested sharing this segment where we talked about Lean in relation to inventory and supply chains. This is from May of 2021, but we think it's still relevant. If you want to hear coffee talk, listen to or watch the whole version here.
Our inventory talk includes a news story about 10 million bourbon barrels that are “resting” in inventory. But it's barely whiskey talk. We talk more about the supposed “death of Just In Time.” Ugh.
As I said last time, Jamie Flinchbaugh and I started a podcast series just over three years ago called “Lean Whiskey.” It's a very conversational format and we've enjoyed doing it (and if anybody likes listening, then even better!).
Links From the Show (about Lean):
10 Million bourbon barrels resting – too much or not enough? 
The Wall Street Journey's misinformed piece on JIT, Jeff Liker on JIT, Dr. Jonathan Byrnes on supply chain shockwaves, and Dr. Byrnes as a guest Mark's LeanBlog podcast
MIT's The Beer Game, system dynamics and accumulators and delays, and supply and demand
Luke Szymer on Agile, Testing Hypotheses, and Process Behavior Charts Founder of “Launch Tomorrow.”
Episode page with transcript, video, and more
My guest for Episode #452 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Luke Szyrmer. He's the founder of “Launch Tomorrow.” He helps new technology products get to market faster (even remotely).
Luke is the author of the books Align Remotely: How to achieve together, when everyone is working from home and Launch Tomorrow: Take Your Product, Startup, or Business From Idea to Launch in One Day.
He's the host of the highly rated “Managing Remote Teams” podcast. He comes from a product management background and has a BA in Economics and English from the University of Pennsylvania.
He's joining us on the podcast from Poland.
Today, we discuss topics and questions including:
Background question — How did you get introduced to Agile, Lean Startup, things like that?
“Fuzzy side of innovation”?? — time wasted 20-30 years ago?
Doing the wrong things righter?
Tampering – and increasing variation
Processes for creating software?
When you were reading about “Lean Manufacturing”? How does that resonate with? How does that relate to you and your work?
How easy is it to estimate “story points”?
Lean Thinking – batch vs flow… physical flow vs. work flow — Adaptations to the flow of software?
Takt time – how to translate this in terms of required software, requirements, points
How did you learn about Process Behavior Charts?
Why did that resonate with you?
How do you incorporate PBCs into your work?
Counting physical products vs. story points (something more esoteric)?
Landing pages – product or service that doesn't exist yet
What to test BEFORE a landing page?
How to make a good decision with limited data points?
What's so powerful about testing an idea as a hypothesis?

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.
This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network.
Rich Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations, on Eliminating Fear and Increasing Joy in Work Episode page, video, transcript, and more
My guest for Episode #448 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Rich Sheridan, co-founder, CEO and “Chief Storyteller” of Menlo Innovations, a software and IT consulting firm that has earned numerous awards and press coverage for its innovative and positive workplace culture.
He's a returning guest from Episode 189 back in 2014 — the same year that I had a chance to visit the Menlo Innovations office.
We talked then about his first book Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love.
His latest book, published in 2019, is Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear.
Rich is giving a keynote talk, “Lead With Joy and Watch Your Team Fly!”, at the Michigan Lean Consortium annual conference, being held August 10-11 in Traverse City. I'll be there and I hope you'll join us.
Today, we discuss topics and questions including:
For those who didn't hear the first episode, how would you summarize “The Menlo Way”? And how has “the Menlo Way” evolved over the past 8 years?
Why is “eliminating fear” so important and what drains joy from the workplace?
“Tired programmers make bad software”
Sustainable work pace
Paired work – Erika and Lisa
Individual performance reviews?
“We've eliminated bosses” — nobody to review you, the team gives feedback, develops growth plan
“Let's run the experiment”
Toyota talks about the need for humble leaders — why is humility such an important trait? Do you hire for humility or try to screen out those without much humility?
No longer say “we hire for culture fit”
“Not an interview, an audition”
Leadership lessons from the pandemic– 4 blog posts
In “Chief Joy Officer” you write about the proverbial “mask” that leaders feel pressured to wear… masking how we really feel. Were you able to be your authentic whole self at work, fears and all, during the early stages of the pandemic?
“Scared and panicked” – was it OK to share that with the team?
“They're all adapting” – as a result of everything we've been doing for 19 years

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.
This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network.
Sarah Boisvert on New Collar Careers and the Need for 21st Century Apprenticeships My guest for Episode #453 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Sarah Boisvert. She is the founder of New Collar Network and Fab Lab Hub. 
Episode page
Her career spans advanced “smart” manufacturing, art and music, and innovative workforce training. 
Her mission as part of the Fab Lab Network is to create pathways that often do not require college degrees to well-paying, engaging “New Collar” careers, utilizing disruptive technologies like 3D printing, laser machining, robotics, VR and AI/machine learning.
She's joining us on the podcast from Albuquerque.
She is the author of the books The New Collar Workforce and People of the New Collar Workforce.
In collaboration with Santa Fe Community College, Boisvert also founded the New Collar Innovation Center at the Santa Fe Higher Education Center in 2021 to foster innovation in lifelong learning, New Collar workforce training, and the creation of 21st-century startups. 
Sarah is going to be part of a main stage keynote panel at the AME annual conference, being held in Dallas, October 17 to 20.
Joining Sarah on the panel are Deondra Wardelle, who was my guest in Episode 405, and also Amy Gowder, President and CEO of GE Aviation Military Systems Operations. I'm going to be moderating the panel.
Today, we discuss topics and questions including:
You've done many fascinating things in your career… but to ground the conversation, for this podcast, what was your first exposure to Lean manufacturing?
Deming?
Lean in your kitchen?– her choice, reducing frustration
“Lean is people centric”
You said in 2018: “U.S. manufacturing companies are expected to face a shortage of 2 million skilled workers by the year 2020.” — assume this came true? Made worse by the pandemic?
It's worse, much worse than predicted?
A problem beyond manufacturing
For these new technologies…Which of those skills are most in short supply? 
What are the skills that “new collar” employees need to have… coming out of high school?
Problem solving — it CAN be taught
As you shared on LinkedIn… “General Motors is expanding hiring requirements to skills, not just degrees!  
Give an example of how “degree creep” causes problems?
Working with Los Alamos National Laboratories to also change hiring policies?
As an expert in 3D printing, how do you help companies decide when 3D printing isn't just “cool” but is actually more effective and the preferred choice?
Are your earrings 3d printed? YES
What are the benefits of 3D printing??
There are people in Dallas working on a 3D-printed house? Concrete?

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.
This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network.
Skip the Lean 101 Training? Mark Graban and Jamie Flinchbaugh This is a "bonus" episode where Mark and Jamie talk about "Lean 101" training -- experiences, lessons learned, tips, and more.
This is the "just the Lean" part of Episode #33 of our "Lean Whiskey" podcast. We realize some of you might not care about the whiskey talk or you just don't want to hear that at all. But, the Lean discussion is pretty good, so here it is.
If you're interested in Lean Whiskey, it's quite likely that you can subscribe anywhere you are listening to this post.
Sumitra Vig on Lean & Quality: First Time Right or Next Time Right? Partner with Svakarma Advisory, LLP, based in Mumbai India. 
Episode page: https://leanblog.org/446 
My guest for Episode #446 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Sumitra Vig. She is a partner with her advisory firm Svakarma Advisory, LLP, based in Mumbai India. 
She is a customer experience specialist, an ASQ (American Society for Quality) Certified Manager of Quality & Organizational Excellence, and a master trainer & retail banker with years of hands-on international experience in Asia, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. 
Sumitra has designed & conducted successful training programs, mentored employees & created an impact across continents
Today, we discuss topics and questions including:
How did you get introduced to Quality?
First time right / first time quality from a customer lens — What is this?
Does this mean “no mistakes”? What do we learn from mistakes?
Does “first time right” put too much pressure on people?
How can we design the product or service in a way that ALLOWS first time right?
Design thinking — what does the customer really want?
Measures — Problems vs reported problems — how to handle unreported problems?
Customer is king? The employee is really king to then deliver a transformational experience??
The 5 Toyota Precepts
The book Atomic Habits
Women in Lean – Our Table group on LinkedIn
Has a master class available online on First Time Right
Working with a foundation – mobile hospital for villages, remote Himalaya

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.
This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network.
Lauren Hisey on Bridging the Gap Between People, Process, and Technology Episode page: https://leanblog.org/447
My guest for Episode #447 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Lauren Hisey.
Lauren is a Continuous Business Process Improvement consultant, coach, trainer, and speaker. She specializes in helping business owners and leaders from mid-size organizations uncover and solve their business problems with Continuous Business Process Improvement (Lean, Six Sigma, etc.). She helps your business and organization become simpler… faster… BETTER.
Today, we discuss topics and questions including:
Why is it important not to jump to solutions with technology (Robotic Process Automation, AI, Machine Learning, or the new Hyper automation)?
What is RPA?
What do you mean by “digital transformation”?
Bridging the gap – people, process, and technology
Don't automate a bad process
Why should you start with Value Stream mapping and then process mapping the current state and future state?
VSM vs. process maps? Differences?
Current state observation vs. future state creation?
Virtual suggestion box situation – technology adoption?
Virtual Gemba walks?
Why are Gemba walks so important with understanding the current state and then the future state?
Putting two things together — Lean transformation and digital transformation?

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.
This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network.
Lisa Yerian, MD on the Cleveland Clinic’s Improvement Journey and How Lean Got Them Through COVID Chief Improvement Officer at the Cleveland Clinic
Episode page
My guest for Episode #449 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Lisa Yerian, MD.
She joined Cleveland Clinic in anatomic pathology in 2004, and has held several pathology and enterprise leadership positions. After 10 years serving as Medical Director of Continuous Improvement, Dr. Yerian was named Cleveland Clinic's first Chief Improvement Officer of Continuous Improvement in December 2019.
She's going to be one of the keynote speakers at the 2022 AME Conference, being held in Dallas — Oct 17 to 20. I'll be there and I hope you will be too.
Lisa was previously a guest here in Episode 282 back in 2017. Also joining that for that episode was our friend and her colleague, Nate Hurle.
Today, we discuss topics and questions including:
Remembering Nate Hurle (my blog post)
My last podcast with him (episode 404), Nate talked about how the CCIM and your continuous improvement work was helping with Covid testing, treatment, and vaccination… new processes.
As you shared recently at the Catalysis Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit, how did your Lean management system get you through Covid? 
Daily management system
Tiered daily huddles
Problem solving systems
“Covid put that system to the test”
Adaptations were required — learned how to make changes to the standard work in hours, not weeks
Urgency – had to work past the old expectation that it takes 3 months to solve problems


The Cleveland Clinic journey
2006: project-based work and some basic tools
2012: deliberately focused on building culture
Started a “culture of improvement” A3
Defined current state, future state — and the gap
Challenge: perception that we're already doing well enough




Little Red Book of Selling (a book Nate loved)
Culture of excellence – “Not getting better fast enough”
A3 problem solving
“Having a piece of paper is a way to de-escalate…”


Building on a culture of patients first
Lisa's appearance with me on the Habitual Excellence podcast
Good enough, world class, vs. aiming for zero harm?
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