Friday, 16 September 2016


The setting for our al fresco conference meal
We've just spent the past couple of days at the 3rd European Lean Educator Conference hosted by the University of Buckingham. The conference had a good mix of academics, external consultants and lean trainers and lean practitioners.

The first day of the conference focused more on academic research into lean. There was a strong and challenging line up of keynote speakers who seemed to actively enjoy the lively debate their keynotes generated. A personal highlight for me was a brief yet inspiring talk from Lord Anthony Seldon (Vice-Chancellor at the University of Buckingham) who shared his idea about how we could improve education and leadership within universities "everyone is intelligent - we just need to work out in what way and encourage them".

On the second day we presented a paper outlining our concerns about lean implementation in HE, identifying a number of causes and a series of countermeasures. Our main objective was to explore with colleagues whether our experiences are unique to Higher Education (no - they are not). PIU's aim is to ensure that our improvement work supports and enhances the university's  key teaching and research activities and delivers sustainable value for our staff, students and partners, our challenge is ensuring we meet this. The audience  was very kind, however we identified a number of things we'd change if delivering the presentation again.

There was also series of other sessions from the BBC, Lego group and other universities - I really enjoyed hearing about the innovative work that other people are doing under a lean or process improvement umbrella. I've got ideas about things we could try in the short to medium term.

Of course the informal conversations with other delegates are the most enlightening- what is really happening beyond the PowerPoint presentation? I thank people for sharing so generously and am delighted that we have broadened our network of contacts and generated some ideas for improving our own practice.

A big thank you to the conference hosts!

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