It’s not your Grandmother’s Lean anymore!

I had the pleasure of spending my day reading cover to cover, Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers. The book lays out an excellent  framework for understanding and implementing  Design Thinking within your organization. The book speaks for itself, a few outtakes:

A funny thing often happens as we pay close attention to what customers are up to – we find the clues to the new future in dissatisfactions with the present.

Brainstorming is 90% planning, 10% execution

Have you ever seen a 7-year-old make paper airplanes? Then you’ve seen design thinking.

The goal isn’t to nail it; the goal is to identify new hypothesis that may help you reinvent the process.

“Creating new concepts de[pends a lot more on discipline than on creativity. You take the ten most creative people you can find anywhere. Give me a squad of ten marines and right protocols and I promise we’ll out-innovate you.” – Larry Keeley of Doblin

Prototyping = Faking a new business fast.

Design Thinking begins with Design Doing

Listen to Tim Ogilvie talk about the book…

On Designing for Growth from Tim Ogilvie on Vimeo.

Design Thinking compliments Lean in many ways. Just as Lean, it emphasizes seeking value at Gemba or from the customer’s point  of view. It also emphasizes a learn by doing approach. The Design Thinking approach may even emphasize visualization more so than Lean.

Several reasons I found the book so interesting is that it reminded me on how I apply the 5 principles of Lean to marketing. In fact, the “tooling” is very similar and the book offered a deeper insight into my own processes. One example was that it challenged me to resist conclusions and recognize that only customers have them. I should frame the situation to extract that information from them. It also reinforced my efforts to understand the current state, an area that frustrates many clients. At the very beginning of explaining the What is? stage  they make the statement, “Step away from That Crystal Ball.”

My frustrations with many Lean and “Lean Six Sigma” Practitioners are the inability to move them away from thinking about Lean as a waste reduction tool. As any reader of my blog knows, I look at waste reduction as only a by-product of Lean. Lean is about problem solving and knowledge creation or PDCA.

Design Thinking is a hot trend right now and Lean Practitioners can learn much from it. I put down this book thinking, It’s not your Grandmother’s Lean anymore! Are we finally ready to stop thinking about lean as a waste reduction tool?

P.S. I believe Lean Six Sigma is an oxymoron. Both are very good methodologies and are only used together for marketing purposes.

Buy the Book: Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers

Related Information:
How new is Service Dominant Logic and does it apply now?
Asking the right questions about Lean?
Service Design Thinking
The Role of PDCA in a Lean Sales and Marketing Cycle

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