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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement


Mark Graban

Mark Graban is a Senior Advisor at KaiNexus. Mark graduated from Northwestern University in 1995 with a BS in Industrial Engineering and later earned an MS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is author of two Shingo Research Award-winning books, and has worked as a consultant to healthcare organizations throughout North America and Europe, teaching and implementing kaizen and other Lean management practices. He was previously a Senior Fellow with the Lean Enterprise Institute and the Healthcare Value Network and continues as an LEI faculty member. Mark is also the founder of the popular LeanBlog.org and its podcast series.
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Recent Posts

Evidence that Lean CLEAR-ly Works in Healthcare

Posted by Mark Graban

Mar 30, 2021 2:14:00 PM

Dr. John Toussaint has long been one of the world's leading practitioners and advocates in the world of Lean healthcare, so it's always great to see what he has to say and share. 

John recently shared an email newsletter that also included this video message:


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Topics: Lean Healthcare

Sharing Covid Vaccination Process Improvements - VacciNexus!

Posted by Mark Graban

Feb 12, 2021 10:59:28 AM

For the entire team at KaiNexus, the phrase "spread continuous improvement" is a driving mission statement. It's not just a business objective, it's something that we think can change the world. We truly believe that.

Our customers spread continuous improvement throughout their organizations. Often, this is person to person, team to team, department to department, and site to site. Our KaiNexus software supports them in this effort.

When we hear about big challenges in the world, such as the need to quickly and efficiently vaccinate as many people as possible against the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 illness, we know that people are doing great work to solve problems and to be more effective. 

But how are they spreading continuous improvement across organizations, across states, and across countries?

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Remembering and Honoring Norman Bodek

Posted by Mark Graban

Dec 22, 2020 10:00:00 AM

I join many in the Lean community in mourning the recent passing of a publisher, author, educator, and life-long learner, Norman Bodek. He was 88. You can read his obituary here

I was fortunate to get a lot of time with Norman over the past 15 years, as I documented in my LeanBlog.org post. I learned a lot from Norman, and I will forever appreciate his enthusiasm and support over the years.

We should all be so fortunate as to be as sharp and energetic as Norman was, working on what he loved to do up until the very end. Norman had accomplished so much, yet he didn't rest on his laurels or reputation. He was driven to discover new people and to bring ideas about self-improvement that came from Japanese leaders outside the domains of Lean, Kaizen, or the Toyota Production System.

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10+ Lean Blogs That You Should Be Reading

Posted by Mark Graban

Jun 26, 2020 9:47:24 AM

For a topic with so many authors, students, practitioners, and leaders, it’s probably no surprise that there are a ton of blogs about Lean - Lean manufacturing, Lean enterprise, Lean thinking, etc. This list includes some bloggers I’ve been reading for the longest time, those who are the most active, and those whose insights are really valuable (and sometimes, people fall into all three categories). It’s hard to list just ten, but I have a longer “blogroll” list and a separate list of Lean healthcare blogs that I maintain on my site.

Note: This blog post was originally written in 2015 and was updated in 2020.

You can also check out these lists that are maintained by Chad Walters and by Joel Gross.

Here’s a list of Lean blogs, in no particular order… it’s a list, not a ranking.

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Topics: Lean

More Social Distancing Tips from Our CEO, Dr. Greg Jacobson

Posted by Mark Graban

Apr 15, 2020 3:00:00 PM

As we continue to practice social distancing every day, there might be some things that slip your mind when running essential errands. Greg Jacobson, MD has been sharing a lot of great tips and information about dealing with and protecting yourself from the Covid-19 pandemic. He was recently quoted in this article that has a lot of tips from Greg and other medical professionals:

Social Distancing Mistakes That Put You At Risk For Coronavirus

On the topic of masks, Greg said:

"...according to ER doctor Greg Jacobson, MD, "People don't wear a mask and, when they do, they don't take it off correctly. It's a mistake to take off their mask from the front and then touch the 'contaminated' area." To remove a mask safely, "wash your hands (with soap and hot water for 20 seconds), remove the mask from loops, and put it in a safe place and then wash your hands again," says Jacobson." 

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Opportunities for Improvement in Walking for Exercise

Posted by Mark Graban

Apr 2, 2020 5:10:00 PM

During this era of Covid-19, I've had to make some adjustments to my exercise habits. I've made some improvements and some of these might still be "Opportunities for Improvements" (or what we call OIs at KaiNexus). We believe in the power of sharing continuous improvement ideas and that's something our customers do all the time. 

So, the latest in our series on OIs in everyday life is about walking.

One improvement that comes from not being able to travel for work is that I really have no excuse for not exercising. I can't blame being tired at the end of a long, busy day, and I can't point to the lame hotel gym as an excuse.

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Opportunities for Improvement at the Grocery Store [COVID-19]

Posted by Mark Graban

Mar 30, 2020 10:20:50 AM

My colleague Jeff Roussel kicked off (or I should say teed up) this series by writing about opportunities for improvement (OIs) when out playing golf. I loved it (when I read the draft), and I'm not a golfer -- but I do like bad puns. But, more of us are still going to the grocery store, so we thought it was important to publish this post first. Stay tunes for the golfing one!

I do love to eat. I even love to cook. And, I'm doing more of that while sheltering in place at home. Lettuce, I mean let us, look at some OIs that stores are (or should be) adopting and things that we can do to protect ourselves and our fellow shoppers.That's the last pun that I can think of, probably. So, please don't be chicken about continuing to read.

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When Standardization Leads to Inadvertent Comedy

Posted by Mark Graban

Mar 28, 2020 12:49:00 PM

This week, I played game show host when we hosted a Quiz Show webinar about Covid-19. The answers and discussion were provided by our local expert (and KaiNexus CEO) Dr. Greg Jacobson.

One thing I do for KaiNexus is managing our webinar series. Each time we present a webinar, we have a standard set of survey questions that appears at the end for our attendees.

The survey is standardized, meaning we ask the same questions each time. Standardized work is a core concept of Lean and the Toyota Production System, but standardization is always done for a purpose. In this case, we always want to learn the same things about our webinar attendees, including what they liked about the webinar. We also want to know what could have been better -- we're obsessed with continuous improvement like our customers are!

Part of that obsession is that we do improve our standards over time -- we can call that "kaizen" too.

But back to the survey, one other question that we always ask is:

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The Questions People Asked for "Ask Docs Anything About Covid-19" Webinar

Posted by Mark Graban

Mar 17, 2020 8:25:34 PM

I've been helping our KaiNexus CEO Dr. Greg Jacobson prep for the webinar he and two other doctors are participating in on Wednesday March 18:

Ask Us Anything! COVID-19

Register Now

It's been beyond fascinating to see the questions that people have submitted. I've spent a lot of time going through them and categorizing them... here is what's on people's minds. And maybe that speaks to gaps in effective communication from the government and the healthcare field.

You can register and submit your own questions here

We decided to just copy and paste the questions so you can see what people are asking. Greg and the other doctors, pediatrician Whitney Morgan and internist Mason Mileur won't be able to answer them all necessarily: 

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Podcast: How Daily Tiered Huddles Work at Cleveland Clinic

Posted by Mark Graban

Sep 16, 2019 11:20:52 AM

When a group of us from KaiNexus attended the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit in June, one of our favorite presentations was given by Cinnamon Dixon of the Cleveland Clinic. Through her talk (and a fun exercise), she explained and illustrated how powerful the "Daily Tiered Huddles" are as a part of their approach to Lean.

We asked Cinnamon to share some of their approach and we recorded it as a podcast. You can listen or read the full transcript below. Thanks to Cinnamon and Cleveland Clinic for being so open in sharing their approach!! Scroll down to see the transcript after the embedded player...

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