In the Lean Design we use a process that is called Lean 3P. One of the most contentious part of 3P is this idea of looking to nature, to try to find solutions to the problems you’re trying to solve. We begin by looking at all the value?adding steps. Then for each of those value?adding steps, we try to get the group to look at seven different alternatives that can be created to create that process step. They come from nature. This tends to be a very interesting part of the event, where a lot of people really love it. Other people really hate it.
Allan Colletta, author of The Lean 3P Advantage, in a Business901 Podcast said about this process:
This part of the process attempts to expand the thinking beyond the common approaches we use within the industry. So, at a very minimum, I always say, “It’s a great icebreaker to get the whole group just working well together and to get everything a little bit out of the box.”
At its best, we’ve seen some really great examples, where this out of the box thinking from nature has pointed us in some alternative directions that we never would have considered otherwise. That’s really the goal and that whole process doesn’t take more than a couple of hours, normally.
From there, you go into taking those seven natural alternatives and you bring it into the realm of sort of industry?proven approaches. So if you were rolling something along the thing, what mechanisms do we have for rolling things? Well, you could have a laboratory table. There are all kinds of ways from industry that people have used to do these different things.
You got all these different alternatives. Then once you get seven alternatives for every one of the process steps, then we start narrowing it down. And you’re narrowing those down to three viable alternatives that you could actually do. While this is going on, you’ve got your teams that are pursuing these, investing, and trying to understand how viable these options are. So a lot of research being done, a lot of learning taking place. As you go through it, you converge on three that are very practical and your divide your group up into, typically three groups, and they go off and they build. They’re actually, physically, trying to build the prototypes of whatever it is that they’ve been assigned.
At first, I felt this process of looking to nature was silly. It took some real effort to try it. However, I have found it to be very eye-opening and challenging. Going back to nature, going back to the source makes it more humanistic, maybe.
Lean 3P Design: Podcast and Transcriptions