Lean Startup’s Build-Measure-Learn loop and the PDSA cycle

In his book, The Lean Startup, Eric Ries argues for ways to expand Lean thinking into the realm of startups, into the realm of huge uncertainty.

At the core of his model lies the Build-Measure-Learn loop, which is the key to genuine experimentation and validated learning through working with customers. But what is the relationship between the Build-Measure-Learn loop and the old Lean stalwart, the Plan-Do-Study-Adjust cycle?

Continue reading “Lean Startup’s Build-Measure-Learn loop and the PDSA cycle”

Morieux’s six simple rules to managing complexity, Lean, and social business

Morieux's six simple rules, Lean, and social businessYves Morieux’s and Peter Tollman’s Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated is one of the most interesting books on designing and leading organizations published this year. Morieux has been refining the concept for the past few years, as the rules made their first appearance in his Harward Business Review article in 2011, and featured prominently in his TED talk in October 2013.

Morieux’s basic argument is that complexity is best managed by creating practices that promote autonomy and cooperation, and he advocates six rules, adherence to which results in fostering the correct behaviors for improved performance throughout the company.

In this post, I will examine Morieux’s six rules and compare them to Lean, because, even though Morieux does not mention Lean at all, and sometimes writes about processes in a negative manner, it seems obvious to me that there would be many similarities in companies guided by either set of principles. As a matter of fact, at least the Lego Group has utilized both Morieux’s guidance and Lean in practice.

I will also compare Morieux’s rules to social business, as that comparison will highlight some interesting potential development in the way work is organized.

Continue reading “Morieux’s six simple rules to managing complexity, Lean, and social business”

Bartle player types, Yee’s motivations, and self-determination theory

Bartle player types, Yee's motivations, and self-determination theoryThis post stems from two sources. On one hand, Daniel Pink’s Drive has brought variations of self-determination theory of motivation into the mainstream. On the other hand, everyone in the gamification scene is building varieties of Bartle player types to explain motivation. Can these two be brought together?

Actually, Andrzej Marczewski has already done something like that with his user types, but in this post I want to dig a bit deeper into the theoretical basis of doing so. We’ll get back to the user types later, but first we need to venture into Nick Yee’s well-known paper, Motivations of Play in MMORPGs: Results from a Factor Analytic Approach.

Continue reading “Bartle player types, Yee’s motivations, and self-determination theory”

Collaborative manufacturing: Lean and social business

Collaborative manufacturing: Lean and social businessAs social business matures, it is moving to new areas. People share ideas, and they also increasingly share products and services in what Jeremiah Owyang calls the collaborative economy. This sharing has mostly been consumer-centric (accommodation, cars, loans) with fairly few corporate sharing models (coworking is one). However, there is no reason why this model could not work in manufacturing as well, and as a matter of fact there are already some precursors from which a full-fledged collaborative manufacturing model can grow.

Continue reading “Collaborative manufacturing: Lean and social business”

Design for serendipity: coworking at Seats2meet.com

Design for serendipity: coworking at Seats2meet.comCoworking is a form of work where people share a working environment without being employed by the same company. The idea originated in the USA, where the first coworking locations were opened in 2005. The most common coworking operation model is a paid membership model with personal desks for members and a limited number of drop-in seats available on an hourly rate for other people.

Seats2meet.com started in coworking in the Netherlands in 2007, and their model is somewhat different from the basic coworking model in ways that place a more significant emphasis on serendipity. The story of the company is detailed in Sebastian Olma’s book The Serendipity Machine, which is really content marketing for the company, but offers a number of great insights, so it is content marketing done right. In this post, I will examine the insights that can be extracted from the book from a Lean social business point of view.

Continue reading “Design for serendipity: coworking at Seats2meet.com”

Amazon, Lean, APE, and the future of publishing

Amazon, Lean, APE, and the future of publishingThe New York Times published an article about Amazon last week titled As Competition Wanes, Amazon Cuts Back Discounts as well as an accompanying blog post titled The Price of Amazon. These two articles, both written by David Streitfeld, convinced me that the publishing industry is failing catastrophically.

In this post, I will elaborate on how the publishing industry is failing, what does Lean at Amazon have to do with why Amazon succeeds, and why Guy Kawasaki’s and Shawn Welch’s recent book, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book, should be read by most traditional publishers.

Continue reading “Amazon, Lean, APE, and the future of publishing”

The difference between Lean and Taylorism

The difference between Lean and TaylorismNowadays, Taylorism is almost a derogatory word. Furthermore, often any form of process management is seen as undesirable. This is a shame, and one that merits a brief journey back to the beginning of the 20th century to come to a more complete understanding of what Taylorism and processes are about.

Continue reading “The difference between Lean and Taylorism”

The evolution of Wikipedia from a Lean perspective

The evolution of Wikipedia from a Lean perspectiveWikipedia is perhaps the most monumental achievement brought about by social collaboration tools. Its tale has been told many times, and it was actually used as one of the examples of the new paradigm in Andrew McAfee’s groundbreaking book Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges that was published in 2009. Comprehensive accounts of Wikipedia’s history are also available online on Wikipedia itself and in the form of Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger’s memoir on its early history on Slashdot.[ii]

A brief recapitulation of the story is necessary for our purposes, but the main goal is to inspect the story through a Lean lens in order to visualize what Lean might have to offer for social collaboration.

Continue reading “The evolution of Wikipedia from a Lean perspective”

Are Lean thinking and social business compatible?

Are Lean thinking and social business compatibleThe short answer is, it depends. There are many ways to interpret Lean, just as there are many ways to interpret social business, and some of the tools used under these names are not compatible with each other. However, the thing I am most interested in is their compatibility on a very fundamental level, on the level of their core premises from which the various tools are but imperfect manifestations.

Just like value-stream mapping is not the same thing as Lean, crowdsourcing is not the same thing as social business. While a toolkit approach to Lean or social business may produce results, it is usually very difficult to retain those results unless the toolkit is based on something more and ingrained into the corporate culture. In order to explore the compatibility of the paradigms, it is necessary to explore their core.

Continue reading “Are Lean thinking and social business compatible?”

On online collaboration and friendships

On online collaboration and friendshipsI recently read an interesting article on building collaborative office spaces. Its main argument was based on research from late 1940s, when scientists discovered that “friendships are likely to develop on the basis of brief and passive contacts made going to and from home or walking about the neighborhood.” But what about online collaboration and friendships?

Continue reading “On online collaboration and friendships”