Lean Blog Interviews — 441: John Dues on Continual Improvement, Deming, and Process Behavior Charts in Education

Episode page: https://www.leanblog.org/441 

My guest for Episode #441 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is John Dues, an accomplished education systems leader and improvement science scholar-practitioner with more than two decades of experience in the sector. 

He is the Chief Learning Officer of the United Schools Network (USN) where he directs the network’s Continual Improvement Fellowship and serves as an improvement advisor. 

He draws heavily on the work of W. Edwards Deming and his System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK) to equip him with the theory and statistical tools by which to perform this role. 

Under John’s leadership, USN schools have regularly been among the state and nation’s highest performing urban schools. In 2013, John was recognized as the Ohio School Leader of the Year by the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 

John graduated with Honors from Miami (OH) University, holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Cincinnati, and is an alumnus of Teach For America

He is currently continuing his education through the Improvement Advisor program at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston, Massachusetts. 

John is the author of a free eBook, Rethinking Improvement.

Today, we discuss topics and questions including:

  • “System” – design and then improvement?
  • Voice of the Customer – who is the “customer” for education? Or customers?
  • Where did you first learn about continuous / continual improvement practices and principles?
  • Book Learning to Improve
  • Carnegie Foundation — “improvement science
  • Factors out of your control including poverty, home life instability? Focusing on what you can control?
  • Learning from IHI?
  • Deming? Initially turned off by Deming? – hard to understand?
  • What changed in March 2020?
  • Applicability into education?
  • Things Deming said specifically about education?
  • Alfie Kohn, episode #57
  • Don Wheeler, also using my book Measures of Success
  • Use of Process Behavior Charts
  • What is “engagement” for remote learning? in education?
  • Signal vs. noise
  • The trouble with arbitrary targets?
  • The role of “the system” on performance?
  • Under appreciation of systems thinking?
  • What’s the impact of spending on individual “professional development”?
  • Theory of knowledge – why do we do the things we do? So engrained we don’t question them? 

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

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