Lean has its origins in Japan’s automotive industry which is highly regarded for its kaizen (continuous improvement) spirit. Lean is a way of thinking about how work is done. It is an operating philosophy for organisations who wish to deliver maximum value to customers and service users as efficiently as possible. Lean thinking tools and techniques are now being adopted increasingly by other industries outside of manufacturing – including healthcare.
Used as a long term philosophy, Lean provides a way to deliver more value within the same resources. Used as an improvement toolbox, Lean can support small scale change projects and kaizen events.
Kaizen events are disciplined time out events in which staff are released to make rapid improvements to their work processes. Typically five days in duration, kaizen events are action oriented promoting learning by doing and rapid testing of ideas.