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Friday, October 7, 2016

Lean Quote: Innovation in the Work We Do

div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"> On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"I think of innovation along a continuum of 1) basic problem solving to keep the train on the tracks, 2) continuous improvement to make the tracks work better and better and 3) innovation to question whether tracks are needed at all.— John Shook

"Innovation is a popular – and important – concept," writes LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook. What is it?

An innovation is anything that is novel and valuable. Novel means new. Especially a new idea or method or something that has a “process” piece to it. Valuable – the link here with lean thinking is clear – means that someone, anyone perceives the new thing/method/process as having value. value from the perceiver’s perspective.

Lean thinking itself was an innovation (new and valuable) and an improvement over what preceded it (and what still exists in so many places) that contains within itself the means of further innovation and improvement. 

Consider the role of innovation in the work we do. We think of the iPhone as a tremendous innovation, like the internet, the automobile and now autonomous driving. But, the actualization of each of these, the underappreciated enabler that propelled them to change our lives was, first of all, the many technical innovations that preceded them (no iPhone without iPod, without Macintosh, without Apple II…). The innovation in the work to be done entailed in bringing these innovations to life is also important. 

Here’s an animation that tries to tell that story.

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