There are a number of ways to get your foot in the door to learn lean. It can be as simple as reading a book like "This is Lean", going online to connect with lean practitioners or by joining or starting a Community of Practice.
In Saskatoon we were fortunate to have a core group of people interested in creating a Community of Practice (COP), so it made it easy for others to become involved. Organizing our first event was as simple as getting a few people together to discuss lean related topics over coffee. Hosting a Lean Coffee can be a great way to kick start the formation of a COP. There is an Infographic on how to run a Lean Coffee Session . We used this format to select topics and to facilitate collaborative discussion on topics of mutual interest to the group.
Once we had covered off lean basics it was time to go see lean in action and so we organized tours of businesses that have adopted lean practices. We toured Superior Cabinets a lean cabinet manufacturing company and POS Biosciences an industrial bio-processing facility that implemented a lean turnaround strategy to save their company. We also organized a number of training sessions on lean tools and systems including 5S, Lean Project Delivery and lessons learned at the LCI National Conference in Boston.
Next we organized an event called Lean Talks that included six twenty minute presentations that were based upon the Ted Talk format. The topics included:
With 11 Billion People on the Planet ... Is Lean Enough?
How does Lean get us to a Green Building Industry?
Have you Created your Lean Project Check List?
Integrated Lean at Every Step of the Way
DIRTT Lean @ Arab Health Conference
Changing Culture from Government Funded to Lean Entrepreneur
We then decided to pursue some formal training on Lean Project Delivery and are in the process of pilot testing the Lean Construction Institute - Canada (LCI-C) certification program. We started with the Level 1 Lean Project Fundamentals Workshop that included:
The Business Case for Lean Project Delivery
Hands on Production Simulations
Introduction to the Last Planner System
Introduction to Target Value Design
The members of the group that are interested in pursuing certification will write the online exam and complete additional training to meet the requirement for ten hours of formal lean training. In the new year we will host the Level 2 On Schedule with the Last Planner System and Level 2 Hitting the target with Lean Design workshops for those wanting to pursue the Project Coordinator level of certification.
Starting a COP can be a great way to get your foot in the door to learn lean and create a network of people interested in pursuing and building capabilities in this emerging area of business. We hope that by sharing this story we we can help others create and sustain a community of like minded professionals interested in pursuing knowledge of lean practices.
If you are interested in getting a COP going in your community, we hope this blog has provided a bit of a recipe. If you would prefer to get some help getting one going, please contact us at Lean Team to help organize and facilitate your first event or to provide a workshop.