Lean Blog Interviews — 217: Alan Robinson, The Idea-Driven Organization

Podcasts are sponsored by KaiNexus and their continuous improvement software platform — www.KaiNexus.com Our guest today is Alan G. Robinson, PhD, an award-winning author, educator, researcher and consultant. He has co-authored six books, including Modern Approaches to Manufacturing Improvement: The Shingo System, Ideas Are Free, and his latest, The Idea-Driven Organization. His specialties include managing continuous improvement, creativity, ideas and innovation, and Lean production, being one of the earliest professors to visit Japan to study the Toyota Production System. In this episode, we talk about the history of suggestion programs (and a surprising detail about their history), why 80% of an organization’s improvement comes from staff ideas, and why high-performing idea systems are rare. We also talk about some of the pitfalls of traditional cost-benefit analysis, the role of leaders and humility, and a company, Scania, that intentionally overstaffs to provide time for Kaizen, leading to 12-15% annual productivity improvement. Why is mankind still battling against command-and-control management systems? And what’s the real story behind American Airlines famously removing an olive from their salads? We cover all of that and more in this episode. For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/217. For earlier episodes of the Lean Blog Podcast, visit the main Podcast page at www.leanpodcast.org, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS or via Apple iTunes.