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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement


Greg Jacobson

Greg Jacobson is the Chief Product Officer and a co-founder of KaiNexus. He is an ER doctor that is fanatical about the single biggest barrier holding companies back from greatness - their lack of continuous improvement work. It has taken him down the path of developing KaiNexus. He also loves pickles, playing squash, and hanging out with his insanely awesome wife and daughter.
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Recent Posts

The Best Alternative to a Kanban Board in Excel

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 16, 2018 7:37:00 AM

Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used applications on the planet. I know exactly why. It’s amazingly flexible, most people know how to use its core features, and almost everyone already has it installed on their computer.

What’s not to love?

When it comes to digitizing your Kanban board, there is a lot not to love about Excel.

Here are the main problems with using Excel for Kanban:

  • No matter how expertly you’ve designed your spreadsheet, it is still a passive artifact. It won’t notify your team when tasks or due or deadlines are missed.
  • Spreadsheets are easily broken. If you lock it down enough to protect it, it loses value. If you don’t, formulas can be messed up or data can be lost.
  • Version control is a nightmare.
  • There’s no support for collaboration.
  • Using a tool that you already have doesn’t signal a commitment to improvement.

So if for these reasons or others, you’ve decided to dump the spreadsheet approach to Kanban, good for you! Now what? When you start your search for an alternative to your Kanban board in Excel, we hope you’ll start with KaiNexus, but no matter what solution you consider, make sure it has these key capabilities.

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Topics: Kanban

Engaging Leaders & the Baldrige Framework to Advance Excellence [WEBINAR]

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 3, 2018 7:14:00 AM

Mary Greeley Medical Center is a 220-bed acute care hospital in Ames, Iowa. It’s also a leading facility in continuous improvement. 

KaiNexus recently joined forces with Karen Kiel Rosser, Vice President of Quality at Mary Greeley Medical Center, and Ron Smith, the hospital’s Process Improvement Coordinator, to discuss the role the Baldrige Excellence Framework has played in their organization. You can access the full webinar here.

Keys to Success at Mary Greeley

The Baldrige Excellence Framework empowers organizations to achieve their goals, enhance their results, and become more competitive. At Mary Greeley, daily improvement programs consist of three stages:

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The Benefits of Using an X-Matrix for Strategy Deployment

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jul 19, 2018 8:11:00 AM

Hoshin Kanri (sometimes called "strategy deployment") is an approach that helps companies achieve breakthrough goals over a three- to five-year time horizon.

The methodology is effective because it allows leaders to keep their eye on the long-term objectives that will change the game, without losing sight of the day-to-day improvements that can add up to significant benefits.

However, we won’t lie. Effective strategy deployment isn’t easy.

Too often, the strategic plan gets lip service, but little else. If you are looking for help making sure that your organization arrives at “True North,” an X-Matrix might help.


X-Matrix Design

X-Matrices are visualization tool made up of five sections. The layout of the matrix helps define the relationships between each of them.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri, Strategy Deployment

Back to Basics - 6 Principles of Lean Healthcare

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jun 11, 2018 1:40:00 PM

We spend a lot of time and effort on this blog digging into the details of how to start, spread, and sustain a Lean culture. We think it is important to get very specific about the Lean tools and techniques that produce measurable results for healthcare organizations. So of course, we care a lot about technology solutions that bring it all together. However, sometimes it is a good idea to pull back and move away from the details. Once in a while, it pays to get the 30,000-foot view and remember why we are doing this at all.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

The CAPA Software Buyer’s Guide

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jun 5, 2018 12:01:49 PM

Correcting and preventing problems are two of the most important things that any organization can do. That’s the driving force behind the increasing interest in CAPA (Corrective Action/Preventative Action) software. If you’ve decided to invest in technology to support your improvement efforts, you have many options. This post will give you some guidance on what to look for and how to get your implementation off to a fantastic start.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Change Management Software, Continuous Improvement Software

Considering Change Management Software? Don’t Overlook Reporting.

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Apr 10, 2018 1:00:44 PM

If you are in the market for change management software, we’d like to help. One of the most frequent questions we get asked is what to look for in a change management and improvement platform. Most people know the basics of what they need but aren’t completely versed in all the possible capabilities that technology might bring. We find that it is common for people to be so concerned with getting data into a software solution that they don’t place enough emphasis on getting data out. However, measuring and reporting on the impact of change is central to the success of a culture of continuous improvement.

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Topics: Change Management Software

Why is Hoshin Kanri so Valuable?

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Mar 30, 2018 8:12:00 AM

The practice of Hoshin Kanri, also called Policy Deployment or Strategy deployment, is about the alignment of individual goals and performance measurement with the company goals and mission. It is rare to find a management practice that has the potential for so much impact at the strategic, tactical, and operational levels of an organization, but Hoshin Kanri does. In fact, some experts believe that Hoshin Kanri is the single most important responsibility of senior management.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri

The Pros AND Cons of Digital Kanban Boards

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Mar 1, 2018 3:19:03 PM

If you’ve read this blog before or poked around our website a bit, you know that our continuous improvement software solution includes digital Kanban boards. For that reason, you may think it is odd that we’ve written a post that includes discussion about the downside of the very tool we provide.

But Kanban software is like about everything else in life; you weigh the advantages and disadvantages and go with the approach that comes in on top. Then you try to minimize the problems as much as possible.

We think the benefits of electronic Kanban boards far outweigh the challenges, but we think it’s right to lay both on the table.

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How Software Amplifies the Impact of Kaizen

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jan 15, 2018 12:08:44 PM

In 1986, Masaaki Imai founded the Kaizen Institute Consulting Group (KICG) to help western companies to introduce the concepts, systems, and tools of Kaizen. That year, in Japan he also published the book “Kaizen: Japanese spirit of improvement," which helped to popularize the Kaizen concept in the United States. He believed that “The message of the Kaizen strategy is that not a day should go by without some kind of improvement being made somewhere in the company.”

Most leaders would likely agree with that sentiment, but it is certainly easier said than done. In order to achieve daily improvement, there must be a structure for both supporting and measuring it. Without visibility into the work of Kaizen, leaders can’t say whether daily improvement is happening, nor can they take action to accelerate the pace of positive change. Fortunately, Kaizen software provides this insight and offers other significant advantages as well.

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Topics: Innovation Software, Kaizen, Software, Continuous Improvement Software

How Hoshin Kanri Attacks 9 Tough Improvement Challenges

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Dec 19, 2017 2:28:54 PM

Hoshin Kanri is a management technique designed to steer an organization towards its most important long-term goals without sacrificing the need to practice continuous improvement. If you are unfamiliar with the approach, we have some detailed information that will be useful. (Click here, here, and here.)

In short, the words "Hoshin Kanri" are usually interpreted as direction (setting) management. Much like a compass pointed toward true north, the Hoshin approach to strategic planning defines where the organization is headed. The core idea is that the best way to obtain the desired result is to make sure every person in the organization knows the long-term vision and that they are all working a defined plan to make it happen. Key processes must be monitored to ensure that the day-to-day operation of the organization continues to improve, so it must be noted that Hoshin planning is about both direction and control.

If you are wondering exactly how Hoshin Kanri can help, this blog is for you. We’ve been lucky enough to work with organizations of all types that use the Hoshin way of strategy deployment to successfully overcome some of the most difficult (and common) barriers to operational alignment and daily improvement. Here are the ones we run into most often.

[Watch Now] Cascading Strategy Through Hoshin Kanri

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri

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