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Improve something today

Improve something today

By Brian Kerr
Practicing continuous improvement in a world that's just one damn thing after another.
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0010: In which I split my pants

Improve something today

0031: Change management, with Devon Persing
Change management, readiness and adoption, otherwise pulling nerds across the chasm. Whatever you call it, it's important work that my guest and I are accidentally getting better at. A conversation with Devon Persing. Discussed: remote work, organizational and individual change, Muppets. • Episode transcripts • Support the show by giving to the planet's most effective nonprofits
May 03, 2021
0030: The mountain, the muddle, and the morning after the earthquake
A year of working and living in crisis. So what? Now what? Discussed: the mountain (certainty), the muddle (ambiguity), and the morning after the earthquake (we're all geologists now, friends); Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Experience" and "The Conduct of Life"; Leonard Cohen. • Episode transcripts • Support the show by giving to the planet's most effective nonprofits
March 29, 2021
0029: Respect for people, with Fabian Jimenez
Respect for people is a pillar of lean. It's also the first thing to go out the window in many botched implementations. A conversation with Fabian Jimenez. Discussed: stepping stones on the path to respect for people. Engaging head 🤖, heart 🫀, and hands 🙌 of people. • Episode transcripts • Support the show by giving to the planet's most effective nonprofits
March 08, 2021
0028: Consensus and agreement, with Andre Helmstetter
When working with groups, agreement is fine—but consensus is better. A conversation with Andre Helmstetter. Discussed: the Institute of Cultural Affairs’ consensus workshop method, taught as part of their ToP Facilitation Training. • Episode transcripts • Support the show by giving to the planet's most effective nonprofits
March 01, 2021
0027: The People, Yes
Checking in with Carl Sandburg's "The People, Yes" before Election Day. "The people have come far and can look back and say, 'We will go farther yet.'"
November 02, 2020
0026: The Tables Turned
We're still here, and we're still feeling stuck. Or at least I am. I bet you are too. Reading: William Wordsworth's "The Tables Turned" 
August 19, 2020
0025: Shelter in place with Shantideva
The world has gone off format and so has this podcast. Discussed: it's time to change and/or die; the weird story of Shantideva, the failed 8th century prince, public servant, and monk; and comforting words from Shantideva's "A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life."
March 30, 2020
0024: Options
The cost and joys of options. Why are options so important to us anyways? Discussed: set-based design and the book Lean Product Design and Process Development by Allen Ward and Durward Sobek.
January 13, 2020
0023: Bottlenecks
You can't make an hourglass flow faster by yelling at the sand. Discussed: queuing, constraints, Little's Law.
December 05, 2019
0022: A field guide to learning from failure
Introducing my free field guide to finding waste in knowledge work and service work—and using the waste you find as an opportunity to start a practice of continuous improvement. Download the field guide here:
November 26, 2019
0021: Not knowing
The places where we don't know all the answers are where real improvements can happen. Discussed: Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor; T. H. Huxley's agnosticism.
November 06, 2019
0020: Bought and sold and bought again
Stories and what they do for us whether we like it or not. Discussed: No Thanks, a poem by Nven Mrgan; Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity by Richard Rorty; War Talk by Arundhati Roy.
October 09, 2019
0019: Begin again
What to do when you're clinging to piano tops and concepts. Stephen Mitchell's version of Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching.
September 21, 2019
0018: Respect for people
Why respect for people is an important part of lean, and four starting points for determining how to do something with this idea. Slightly more detailed notes on the four starting points. More about motivation-hygiene theory.
April 18, 2019
0017: Throughput
Welcome back! Throughput, goodput, and making the most of it.
January 12, 2019
0016: Housekeeping
You gotta take care of yourself, so I'm taking a week to do just that. Also, 2 easy ways you can support this podcast after it returns from a 1 week break.
August 17, 2018
0015: Countermeasures
Looking for countermeasures instead of solutions.
August 16, 2018
0014: Movement and transportation
Revisiting the wastes of lean, and two particular types of waste.
August 15, 2018
0013: What is continuous improvement, anyways?
It's about getting good at small, reversible improvements. Over time folks will learn they no longer need to be scared of change, or even of failure.
August 14, 2018
0012: See one, do one, teach one
Learning and training when things are complicated.
August 13, 2018
0011: Book: Measures of Success, by Mark Graban
Get the book: A free sample chapter is also available at LeanPub:
August 03, 2018
0010: In which I split my pants
The job of facilitation and the value of facilitating with a partner.
August 02, 2018
0009: Finding what's bad
Waste! Defects • Overproduction • Waiting • Not using what people to give • Transportation • Inventory • Movement • Extra processing.
July 31, 2018
0008: Knowing what's good
If people can agree on what's good, the rest is details.
July 26, 2018
0007: Liberating structures
Nobody can make anything better alone. When you're working with other people, the time is ticking away according to one structure or another. Liberating structures online:
July 25, 2018
0006: A weird story about fax machines (updated)
Lay information and knowledge out as simply and concisely as possible, so you can get it out of your brain and into the world.
July 24, 2018
0005: Guessing
Guesses work best when it's OK for a guess to be wrong. Delany's tweet:
July 23, 2018
0004: Variation
How can you distinguish between typical variation in a process and an indication that something has changed? Book recommendation: "Understanding Variation" by Donald J. Wheeler.
July 20, 2018
0003: Standards
Setting standards and trying to perform to standard is a method. Better service, better outcomes, better relationships—that's the goal.
July 19, 2018
0002: What did you notice?
You matter and your ideas matter. Taking time to notice what's going on around you is where those ideas come from.
July 18, 2018
0001: Problems
Problems, solutions, and the problem with solutions.
July 17, 2018