On Thursday a number of pre-conference workshop sessions were held. I attended to one of the pre-session workshops on “Games and Activities for Teaching Lean Concepts”. The aim of the session was to provide some tools for engaging teams, explaining some of the concepts of process improving and personal and shared communications activities.
Three people led the workshop: Marc Carlton and Amy Glenn from the University of Illinois and Ruth Archer from Michigan Technological University.
We had four main activities shared with us. Perhaps, my favourite was a paper boat building exercise that explained lean principles and other lean concepts such as visual controls, waste reduction, flow and level loading. We could have completed many iterations of this exercise (although only did it twice) and I could immediately see how this could be used at the outset of a project to guide a team into focusing on what sort of improvements they might make and to reflect on the change management process.
They also shared a standard work game, reminding us that standard work brings a baseline for improvement and whilst expertise is vital, being able to scale-up activities can only be effectively achieved via the introduction of standard work.
We had a 5S game that I was already familiar with – Google 5S numbers game if you are interested. Many people in the room had already used this with varying levels of success.
The final activity was a producing Kanban boards for personal and team use. I am an advocate of making work visible and feel that this is most appropriate it a team environment. Kanban boards can be useful ways of ensuring that a team shares knowledge and responsibility for key actions to progress projects. My takeaway from this was to ensure that work that has been actioned is also evaluated (e.g. did it go well, did I complete it to the best of my ability, what could have gone better) rather than it being an action that is just closed.
A bonus takeaway was a problem solving exercise to help identify root cause, problem solving throughout a project (and beyond) is absolutely critical, so I’m delighted to have another tool that I can use to support my project team.
Later on I attended the Newcomers Welcome session that gave us a bit more information about NCCI. Its value being:
Serving the vision: Excellence in Education
Networking: Community of Change Leaders
Sharing Stories: Best practice and challenges
Collaboration across institutions
It was really interesting meeting other new people and finding out what they were hoping to get out the conference.
Next up, I went to the welcome meeting that was very informal and got to meet lots of attendees, mostly from North America.