Notes from a small lean island

Team Integra Blog – Notes from a small lean island

16 or so years ago I read Bill Bryson’s iconic book recounting his journey around the quirky nuances of his adopted British, island home. I loved it and laughed out loud as I recognised much from the places, situations and behaviour. He delighted in uncovering places, history, traditions and humour that many British residents take for granted. From the perspective of an outsider looking in he beautifully illuminates many characteristics and treasures that are in plain sight to us all.

For the last few years I have been privileged to direct the MSc Lean Enterprise at the University of Buckingham. January is normally the start of a new cohort for the year, although that has been different in 2020 for obvious reasons. The class are a collection of “lean” and “CI” managers and professionals coming together to study, learn, network, grow with the aim of gaining an MSc. It is a massive commitment for them all. In terms of time management (organising a part-time Masters degree whilst doing a full time job), in terms of travel (our furthest travelled student comes from Australia!) and an incredible “thinking” commitment (open and responsive to new ideas and concepts).

As we are all aware of these days time away from the “coal-face” is unbelievably precious. What they get in return from their investment in time on the MSc is the opportunity to take a “Bill Bryson” outsider’s view of lean, kaizen and improvement and how it can be applied successfully in their own organisation. Like Bill they are both shining a light back on some aspects they have taken for granted whilst also being exposed to new thinking and concepts.

Like the students on the MSc who start the day with a “reflections” session that is what I intend to do with the Team Integra blog. Among the posts I think some will be serious and some will be humorous very much like Bill’s book. Here goes…..