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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Maggie Millard

As the Director of Marketing, Maggie educates the continuous improvement community, KaiNexus customers, executives, managers, and staff in just about every industry you can think of about improvement principles and KaiNexus' continuous improvement software. Her desire to improve the American healthcare system combined with a love of spreading knowledge to the far reaches of the internet inspires her work with KaiNexus every day. Maggie graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2010 with a BA in History. She spends her free time hanging out with her sweet, sticky, stinky new baby and two displaced dogs in the mountains of Virginia.
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Recent Posts

An Introduction to the Lean Concept of Catchball

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 6, 2020 3:25:53 PM

Most of us have memories of playing the game of catch either as children or with our children. I really shouldn’t call it a “game” because there are no winners and losers. There is no defense because everyone is on the same side. One participant tries to deliver the ball to the other in a way that they will be able to grab and return it. The ability to catch and throw a ball is important because it is a foundation for success in many other more complex sports. The Lean idea of catchball involves moving ideas and information from one person or team to another and, much like catch from childhood, it forms the basis for complicated decision making and policy development.

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Topics: Lean

11 Reasons to Use Cross-Functional Teams

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 8, 2020 2:59:00 PM

Organizations turn to cross-functional teams for a variety of reasons. Almost everyone can agree that this type of collaboration is essential for innovation and business performance. By breaking down organizational silos, teams can pursue a goal more efficiently. Here are 11 reasons why you should use cross-functional teams.

1. Innovation

Fresh perspectives can lead to “ah-ha” moments and truly innovative ideas for improvement. The more familiar one is with a situation, the more difficult it becomes to recognize inefficient workarounds that have been baked into processes. A new set of eyes is sometimes all it takes to achieve a breakthrough.

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Topics: Collaboration

Examples of the 8 Wastes of Lean in Everyday Life

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 2, 2020 4:39:28 PM

If you are striving to become a Lean organization, waste elimination is probably near the top of your list. In fact, Lean practitioners have identified very specific types of waste, known collectively as the 8 Wastes of Lean. Certain types of waste are really easy to spot and fix, while others can remain unnoticed. We thought it might be helpful to share some practical examples of how each type of waste occurs in business and in the larger world.

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Topics: Lean, Daily Lean Management, Lean Healthcare

21 Tweetable Kaizen Quotes to Inspire

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 24, 2020 2:28:23 PM

Did you now that the number of people actively using Twitter is over 270 million? Over 50 million people have joined the social media platform in the last year. This year, it's expected that 20% of internet users in the US will be on Twitter. Needless to say, Twitter is a great way to share your ideas with the world. With over 300 billion Tweets shared since Twitter first launched, I think it's time that we get some more out there about kaizen. Help me out, spread messages of #Kaizen on Twitter!

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Topics: Kaizen

What it Takes to Receive the Leapfrog Top Hospital Award

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 8, 2020 4:09:03 PM

The Leapfrog Group is a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers of healthcare concerned with quality and safety. The cornerstone Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and reports hospital performance, giving consumers and other purchasers the ability to make informed decisions and find the highest-value care. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their patient safety record, providing transparency around critical issues such as errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

The best performing hospitals on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey are recognized each year with the prestigious Leapfrog Top Hospital award. These hospitals have better systems in place to prevent infection, reduce medication errors, deliver the highest quality maternity care, among other qualities. To be eligible to receive the award, hospitals must have received a Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade of A in the most recent scoring round. The award is not limited to a particular number of hospitals; instead, all teaching, rural, general, and teaching hospitals, that meet the high standards for each year can receive the award.

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Topics: Software, Lean Healthcare, Improvement Methodology

The 4 Most Important Behaviors For Continuous Improvement Leadership

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 27, 2020 1:43:57 PM

McKinsey published a study that reveals the four most important behaviors of successful leaders. As the report says, “Over 90% of CEOs are already planning to increase investment in leadership development because they see it as the single most important human-capital issue their organizations face.” McKinsey research has often emphasized the importance of good leadership for organizational health.

Although everyone knows leadership is important, there’s long been a lingering question of what aspects of leadership are most important to develop and reward. Should the focus be on communicating with staff? Modeling desired behaviors? Making quick decisions, or encouraging staff engagement? With so many leadership behaviors in the pot, it’s no wonder CEOs are unsure of which ones to focus on; only 43% of CEOs feel their investment in leadership will yield results.

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Topics: Leadership

14 Benefits of Standard Work

Posted by Maggie Millard

Aug 20, 2020 12:15:38 PM

Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System, once said, “Without Standard Work there is no Kaizen.” That’s a pretty bold statement, but when you think about the continuous improvement cycle, it makes a lot of sense. How can you move from the current state to the desired state if the current state is a moving target? Standard Work, which documents the current best practice for performing a task or process, and ensures that everyone is applying it, is a prerequisite for improvement.

Here are 14 ways that Standard Work benefits organizations that leverage it.

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Topics: Lean, Kaizen

A Brief Introduction to 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 23, 2020 12:42:22 PM

Lean Thinking, by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones, covers the five principles of Lean manufacturing. “Truly remarkable .... the most comprehensive, instructive, mind-stretching and provocative analysis of any major industry I have ever known," said Philip Caldwell, former Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company. Peter Drucker called it, “A very important book.” Although the book is primarily focused on Toyota’s achievement in revolutionizing manufacturing, the principles of Lean manufacturing can be applied to almost any industry.

Here are 5 principles of Lean manufacturing:

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Topics: Lean

Study Finds that COVID-19 is Harming Workers' Mental Health

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 14, 2020 10:30:00 AM

If you find that you don't have the energy for activities that you once enjoyed or you are overreacting to small irritants, you are not alone.

New research by the Society for Human Resources Management finds that 22-35% of US employees suffer from signs of depression as they navigate the COVID-19 outbreak.

The study of 1,099 employees found that people who live with an at-risk individual, like healthcare workers or medically vulnerable people, were most severely affected. The survey found that 41% of respondents felt "burned out," yet one-third of respondents said they had done nothing to cope with their feelings, and only 7 percent had contacted a mental health professional.

Work-related concerns left over 40 percent of employees feeling hopeless, burned out, or exhausted as they face lives altered by COVID-19.

While some impact on mental health is inevitable during a crisis like this one, there are some things that employers can do to help.

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Topics: Leadership

Top 5 Challenges Faced by Cross Functional Teams

Posted by Maggie Millard

Jul 8, 2020 12:09:13 PM

Effective cross functional collaboration can be the key to tackling an organization’s toughest problems. Cross functional teams can serve as pockets of innovation, and they can improve both individual and group performance. There’s very little question about their value.

The question is, why are cross functional teams so difficult to manage and maintain? Understanding some of the challenges faced by cross functional teams is the first step in making them work.

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Topics: Collaboration

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