Japan News (and “Lean” Misunderstood – Again)

News continues to unfold regarding the damage from the earthquake in Japan and relief efforts.  This incredible disaster has provided huge amounts of ‘data’ to sift through, as I continue my never-ending search for unique angles on lean thinking in everyday life.  Reading an article today about the Fukushima nuclear reactor incident, I was reminded yet again that there is still plenty of opportunity to share with folks a better view on what this thing we call ‘lean thinking’ is all about.  More on that later, first…

Great to see/hear the concerns of many lean friends regarding Japan.  Many of us have professional contacts and friends that spend significant time traveling around the island.  My family just received word that a relative who lives in Tokyo is OK.  Humbling to hear reports of what living (and trying to sleep) on the 19th floor of a Tokyo high-rise is like, with frequent aftershocks causing the building to sway.

A couple nice lean links with our Japan friends, contacts, and family in mind:

Now…I read an interesting write-up by Dr Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT,  which details his take on the Fukushima nuclear reactor incident. Warning – it’s a lengthy read, but gives relevant info on how reactors are built.

[As I’m typing this post: FoxNews Alert – Yumiko Ono (Wall Street Journal) via phone reporting NEW blast at Fukushima site…wow, how’s that for timing?  First thing she reports, “…not a lot of information being given.”]

As I mentioned earlier, news about the Japan disaster is plentiful.  Having recently expanded my interest in the area of news reporting; I am fascinated by the fact (no pun intended) that much of what is reported, is NOT based on any fact(s) or reliable source.  As a matter of fact (sorry), you might say a new hobby of mine is trying to track-down who was responsible for initiating the news outbreak and comparing the original information with what is later chopped and diced into bite-sized pieces for our viewing/reading pleasure.

Remember the whispering game, ‘Telephone’?  Amazing what we can turn stuff into if we’re not careful.

The link I provided to Dr. Oehmen’s write-up was actually the 2nd link I was ‘sent’.  The 1st link sent me to this WordPress blog.  If you scroll down to the very end of this 1st version, you’ll find this bullet:

This all is only part of a much bigger picture. Emergency response has to deal with shelter, drinking water, food and medical care, transportation and communication infrastructure, as well as electricity supply. In a world of lean supply chains, we are looking at some major challenges in all of these areas.

And once again, lean takes a hit.  Not properly understood…at all.  (The bullet was omitted on the bravenewclimate.com site for some reason)

Didn’t take long to find more.  Read this comment from Benjamin. Lots of opportunities to share a better view of lean.  Lots of opportunities.


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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