Continuous Improvement

8 Systems Utilized by Excellent Business Leaders

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Continuous Improvement, Lean, Measurement, Problem-solving | 0 comments

I am privileged to know some incredible business leaders. These are guys and girls who are not only open minded, and passionate, but they’re also business leaders devoted to creating lasting impact through their work. A few of them are fellow venture leaders from the Engineers Without Borders Canada community. One of the things I most value about these people is their ability to think holistically and to embrace, rather than fear, the complexity of human problems. They appreciate the nuanced thinking that is required to generate solutions – and they have the inner confidence to bring...

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Bringing people to the party

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in Continuous Improvement, Leadership, Workplace Culture | 0 comments

Bringing people to the party

  Recently I worked with a non-profit organization that is navigating a major change.  They have a 2-5 year ideal end state or vision defined, and they are currently designing a plan to get there,  including hiring a new executive leader.  They asked me to help facilitate the process.  As is the case with many non-profit organizations the leadership team is almost entirely volunteers, and though they have lots of motivation to do the right thing and a great vision for where they want to go, they do not have a lot of experience with defining, planning and leading organization...

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Can a Startup be too Lean?

Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Continuous Improvement, Insight and Inspiration, Lean, Small Biz + Startups | 1 comment

Can a Startup be too Lean?

After attending the Lean Startup Day at MaRS startup incubator in Toronto last week, I felt tremendously vindicated that my Lean skills are very applicable and useful to the process a startup venture goes through. It helps that I have my own startup Engineer Your Life; tools and support for engineers to find the next best steps in work and life.  *Shameless plug alert!*  So I have been through my own process of defining who my customers are, how I can serve them in a way that is sustainable, practical and benefits them and me. So I’ll begin with full disclosure:  I’m a rookie...

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The tale of what we measure: Bhutan, GDP and the riddle of true progress

Posted by on Nov 1, 2012 in Continuous Improvement, Insight and Inspiration, Measurement, Problem-solving, Social Progress, Value Creation | 2 comments

The tale of what we measure:  Bhutan, GDP and the riddle of true progress

Last week I was lucky enough to attend Ignite Waterloo, a lively and well-organized evening conference event which I would describe as TED on speed. Presenters each get five minutes only! Thirteen presenters dazzled us with their stories that evening.  Incidentally I absolutely recommend the Ignite experience – similar events are held all over! One of the presenters, author and business strategist Sandy Richardson talked about GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and true progress.  She proposed to us that despite its longstanding status as the benchmark for economic success (therefore...

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Lean Tools 101: Gemba: Go and See Leadership

Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in Manufacturing, Workplace Culture | 2 comments

At the very end of a video I found recently about Leadership, a random Chicagoan interviewed on the street rhymes off some really good advice: “Get off your butt.  Don’t sit at your desk all day.  Go out in the factory and talk to the people. ” As it happens this is also a Lean concept.  This simple idea has a Japanese term:  gemba, which derives from the term for ‘the real place’.  It’s where the real action happens. The Gemba walk is related to another practice called ‘Management by Wandering Around‘ (which is exactly what it sounds...

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I’m from Walkerton

Posted by on Aug 31, 2012 in Continuous Improvement, Disaster Prevention, Manufacturing, Problem-solving, Root Cause Analysis | 0 comments

I’m from Walkerton

…and if you’re Canadian you probably know what that means. Don’t drink the water eh? Well, yeah. Except it’s been nearly 13 years since the outbreak (of E coli from an improperly fixed well, a massive rain storm and a tangle of factors including insufficient chlorination of the water that killed 7 people and sickened some 2,300 – for those just tuning in). I haven’t found a cheerful way to spin the subject yet. It was awful and many people still suffer. But I chime in in the hope that it will make us all think about it. The book is closed on the inquiry,...

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