Jumping the Gun: Social Media and Lean

We’ve all heard the popular quote,

Time flies when you’re having fun.

Implementing lean can be lots of fun.  Challenges with improving and simplifying complicated processes or achieving a balanced mixed model flow, bring satisfaction when teams work together toward a common goal.

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Writing for webdesignerdepot.com, Cameron Chapman opens her article on “The History and Evolution of Social Media” by stating,

Social media has become an integral part of modern society.

Uhh…yeah.  The article was written in October, 2009.  Reading through the timeline from beginning to end makes one realize just how far, and how quickly, social media has come.  Time has flown, but it hasn’t been all fun.  Personally, I’ve jumped onto quite a bit of the social media band wagon over the past couple of years…all with good intentions of course.

The 8th principle from The Toyota Way – 14 principles states,

Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts regarding whether the principle applies to the use of social media in supporting lean efforts.

How do we balance taking advantage of the latest SM opportunity vs. ensuring reliable, time-tested technology?  As lean leaders, what are the risks?

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About Steve Martin - theThinkShack

Hey there...I'm Steve. I built theThinkShack...a virtual hideaway about Lean Thinking and how it Connects to Everyday Life.
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2 Responses to Jumping the Gun: Social Media and Lean

  1. Matt Wrye says:

    I think it is great that there are innovators out there using the social media to get messages out. For me, I try to determine what my purpose is for using the social media. Not all social media outlets are designed to give the same output or results. Once I have determined what my purpose is, then I choose which social media would best fit my needs and I start there. Using the social media can take up a lot of time so jumping in and using them without thinking about a purpose can cause a lot of waste.

  2. Jim Baran says:

    Intriguing reference and question. Technology now referred to as “social media” has been around as long as the application of lean in Western cultures.

    Early forms of lean experiences weighed heavily on the implementation of tools with focus on cost reduction.

    Early forms of Information sharing technology (somehow now categorized as social media) began with Usenet, Web 1.0 (connecting in one dimension); 2.0 (connecting in two dimension with people), and now web 3.0 (connecting people with information in multiple dimensions).

    The trajectory of knowledge sharing technology (social business) in lean is stuck in the tool age. Its potential however is moving quicker than books can be written about it. I don’t think we’re jumping the gun by incorporating its use in lean cultures; by not using it, we’re shooting ourselves in both feet.

    The upside to your question is that people are exploring social technology and are starting to explore and talk about it – not just in lean, but all forms of human business interactions. Two years ago when I started exploring use of Web 2.0 technology to increase connectivity and participation in the lean process, nobody was talking about lean + social media. While far from perfection, we’re making progress. That’s bankable.

    I’m sure the early founders of Lean would have been delighted to use social technology to advance their methods and practices. While the lean message has moved across the globe, it’s taken 70+ years. With social technology, we could have improved on point of use and on-time delivery by 69 years. Now that’s improvement! When social technology is viewed in that lens, improvement becomes every person, every minute, every day.

    Thanks for raising an important topic Steve.

    PS I don’t have to check “Subscribe to this site by email” … ThinkShack blog is featured on our social business community for lean inspired people – The Lean Career Compass http://bit.ly/311Aep

    Jim Baran
    Owner, Value Stream Leadership

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