Monday, 6 November 2017

Marvellous Macquarie #LeanHE

This blog post is my attempt to reflect on this year's Lean HE conference, hosted by Macquarie  University.

The theme of the conference was measuring and sustaining change. There was a good blend of keynotes from higher education and also from industry interspersed with presentations from lean HE practitioners. It was the perfect balance and did not disappoint.

Rather than give you an overview of each session I recommend that you take a look at the storify link, which uses the tweets from the conference to give you a flavour of the programme

The main takeaways for me are:
  • Regular faces. This is my 5th Lean HE conference and there are definitely some familiar faces. This year I was particularly impressed with the step change in learning and continuous improvement the 'old faithfuls' demonstrated.
  • New faces. This was the first time the Australasian Continental Division had hosted the conference. This made it easier for colleagues from universities in the region to attend. The new faces brought freshness, enthusiasm and a great deal of good practice to the conference. I really enjoyed making new friends and learning from them.
  • Industry - we have a lot that we can learn from other sectors, true lean thinkers share values and practice that goes beyond the environment they work in.
  • Grassroots and leadership. For lean to sustain in our universities we need to have grass roots buy-in and also senior leadership support. People are finding creative ways of delivering the training to staff, senior leadership support seems to remain patchy and at times inconsistent.
  • As practitioners we encouraged each other to be bold, listen to people's stories, use data intelligently and collaborate as effectively as possible.
  • Robotics and automation are areas of interest. Understanding that if we focus on process first, automation can speed up the process and help sustain the changes. The use of robots to assist with service is on the increase, and as Lean practitioners we need to consider the value adding opportunities that robots can offer when we analyse process.
  • The importance of fun. Thee were reflections from many people that a happy, empowered team is more likely to be effective and that by using humour and play it can encourage people to thin differently.

I certainly had a great deal of fun, which I'm sure assisted my learning and helped me to continuously improve my practice and leadership.

A big thank you to the team at Macquarie University that organised and hosted the event, the Australasian Lean HE committee who also supported the conference, all of the presenters and all of the delegates that made time to chat to me and share their stories. I am inspired!

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