Exploring Lean Talent Development

Last week I introduce the Lean Talent Development Process Matrix and during the week I received some great feedback via the LinkedIn threads. If you view my LinkedIn profile, you can join in on the discussions the threads are easy to find. In one of the discussions, Jim Merritt mentions that he looked at Lean as an emergent process. I have always agreed with that thought and one of the reasons that I used EDCA (Explore) in my Lean work.

SDCA and PDCA prepare you to maximize EDCA or Design. I like to use the term EDCA learned from Graham Hill to designate the Explore aspect of Lean. I view it as more of Design Type thinking content that allows for that collaborative learning cycle with a customer.Lean CyclesLean drives both the Little i and the Big I. The first and foremost reason is that it allows for the 1st step of innovation, the little i. Lean primary driver for the little i  is PDCA. As a result, it allows for that culture to spread and create the DNA for the BIG I. Without Lean and the little i, you may never start!

From Tina Seelig’s book inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity, she states:

  • Your attitude sparks your curiosity to acquire related knowledge.
  • Your knowledge fuels your imagination, allowing you to generate innovative ideas.
  • Your imagination catalyzes the creation of stimulating habitats, leveraging the resources in your environment.
  • These habitats, along with your attitude, influence the culture in your community.

The little “i” provided through SDCA and PDCA defined as the Lean Culture will stimulate the knowledge, imagination, and attitude to create something from nothing. Creativity, Design and Imagination are all learned practices. The lean innovation engine consists of:

  • SDCA: Standard Work that creates a CAN-DO attitude and frees up time to spark problem-solving
  • PDCA, allowing you to “see” opportunities for improvement.
  • A Continuous Improvement Culture (PDCA/Kaizen) catalyzes the creation of stimulating habitats, leveraging the resources in your environment.
  • These habitats, along with your attitude, influence the culture in your community

This is the basic process for emerging thoughts, for innovation, for EDCA. In Lean we have another powerful tool that has developed around the thought process embedded in Lean Product Development. Michael Kennedy has written several books on the subject. The picture below was created from his book, Product Development for the Lean Enterprise: Why Toyota’s System is Four Times More Productive and How You Can Implement It and represents the change gap between past product design and future product design. As you can see design and innovation pulls from the expertise of the workers (knowledge-based) rather than management creating direction (structured). I believe that it ultimately pulled by the value stream or by the customer.Kennedy Change Gap

Lean is poised to create the eco-system that is needed for developing talent in your organization. It is Lean Thinking, that culture of PDCA embedded in the workforce that creates the pull and the resulting flow from and with the customer. This is what should guide you in developing Lean talent. Using the Lean Development Matrix, we can overlay Kennedy’s Knowledge Based template to reinforce these ideas.

Knowledge Workers

If we organize our work, our technical competencies around value streams, we are pulled by our customers and markets in not only product/service development but in people development. When you look at a typical company and you group the people in a value stream around technical competence and work experience, you may have something like the following diagram.

Lean Product Development As you can see there is a wide mixture of skill levels and work experience. The idea is that you should have a mixture of talent. The importance of having a diverse workforce is that multiple views typically lead to more discovery, more emergence. When you have a process in place to accelerate work, SDCA and PDCA, it defines culture and will stimulate the knowledge, imagination, and attitude to create something from nothing, EDCA.

 

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