The Confucian roots of Lean

Lean is still often seen as a set of tools to eliminate waste in processes, but the understanding that Lean is actually much deeper than that is spreading. However, even in the Lean community, the extent of that depth is rarely understood or discussed in detail.

In this post, I will strive to elaborate on the deep connection Lean has with Confucianism, what this means for the content of Lean, and what this means for the adoption of Lean in the Western world. Understanding this connection opens rich insight into Lean as well as to the reasons it is so difficult to adopt Lean in the West.

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Dynamic capabilities in personal career planning

Have you ever been asked where you will be in five years? Or what is your career plan? With the pace of change in the world being as rapid as it is, and with no signs of it slowing down, these questions do not make quite as much sense as they perhaps used to.

The same applies to strategic management, and there one of the more popular answers to rapid change has been the adoption of the dynamic capabilities framework. Interestingly, its teachings apply equally well on an individual level when it comes to career planning.

I have written about dynamic capabilities in more detail before, but in this post I wish to explore the application of dynamic capabilities to individual career planning as an intriguing analogy.

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Use of LEGO bricks in teaching collaborative problem solving

Collaborative problem solving (CPS) is an important 21st century skill. CPS is important, because both manual and non-manual work are increasingly non-standard, and because of this, the requirements for both problem-solving and collaboration at work are increasing.

In this post, I will take a look at how the use of LEGO and LEGO DUPLO bricks can help children learn collaborative problem-solving skills. One might argue that simply playing with such toys is already excellent practice, but I will demonstrate how formal teaching tasks can also be designed around the use of these tools, which enable systematic practice, and, if desired, assessment.

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10 examples of serendipity in social business

One of the main reasons for an enterprise to embrace internal transparency and social collaboration tools is to create an environment where serendipity happens on a regular basis. But what does it really look like when it works? I’ll explain the phenomena in this post with a number of real-life examples I have personally witnessed at work.

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What should Hachette do to survive digitalization?

The Hachette versus Amazon battle keeps going on as the most visible symbol of the changing landscape of the publishing industry. I have written about it before, but this time I want to take a look at the situation from a bit broader scope: What should Hachette do to survive not just this battle, but digitalization itself?

Lagardère, the parent company of Hachette, gave a presentation on its views on the publishing market and Hachette’s position in it on their investor day on 28 May 2014. This gives us a good starting point to examine what Hachette thinks it should do, and whether its conclusions and claims are sound.

(Also, I participated in a strategy MOOC recently, so some analysis was good practice for that one as well and I examined Hachette in my final project there.)

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Moore’s category maturity life cycle and innovation types

I have been looking for ways to make sense of product life cycles in environments where there are no real products as such, but in which offerings are instead tailored to customer needs. Yet, even in such environments, it is not profitable to always start from scratch, so a form of product management needs to exist, even if that management is more concerned with modules, technologies, and general applications than mass produced products.

So far, the only model I have found that seems adequate for the purpose is Geoffrey Moore’s category maturity life cycle, which he presents in his book Dealing with Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of Their Evolution.

In this post, I will examine this model.

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The PDSA cycle is a core 21st century skill

What are the skills we need nowadays? Have they changed from what was needed before? The Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills research program, headquartered at the University of Melbourne, strives to provide answers to these questions.

They have identified multiple skills that are crucial to life in the 21st century, and one of particular interest is what they call collaborative problem-solving (CPS), which comprises both social and cognitive processing skills. This social nature of problem-solving is the aspect that is considered to be new.

However, if we take a deeper look at the applications of the PDSA cycle, we can easily notice how problem-solving has been social already before, and that these existing methods may also have more to contribute to the class room.

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Dynamic capabilities, the scope of strategy, and Lean

Dynamic capabilities framework is a promising framework for strategic management. Based on and expanding upon the resource-based view of the firm, its founding paper by David J. Teece, Gary Pisano, and Amy Shuen, Dynamic Capabilities and Strategic Management (1997), has been cited in almost 20,000 articles.

In this post, I will examine the basics of the dynamic capabilities framework and point to some interesting areas for future examination regarding its significance for the adoption of a variety of operating models, such as Lean, Lean startup, and social business.

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How to learn a new area of expertise in two weeks

The amount of information available online has continuously increased, and it is now easier than ever to learn new skills. The key to such learning is the ability to find relevant information online and evaluate its usefulness.

In this post, I will detail a process I myself use to get started on a new field in a business environment. I have successfully used this method to get started on Lean, project management, social business, and sales management to name a few areas. (How do I know? Because I’ve applied these skills for some years by now. There are other, more recent, fields where I cannot yet tell for sure.)

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Vision, purpose, and manners – a framework for strategy and culture

The internet is full of corporate vision, mission, and value statements. What all of these statements contain can be ennobling at best, and downright bland and meaningless at worst. What each part should include is also a mess: one company’s mission is akin to another’s vision. Often it is impossible to even tell two companies apart based on their visions and missions, and at worst it can even be impossible to figure out what business they are in, when the statements are sufficiently general.

In this post, I will examine some aspects of these statements and their roles in a world characterized by change and multiple cultures. I will also propose a framework that is internally coherent and brings these statements to a practical and usable level.

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