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Improve something today

Author: Brian Kerr

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Practicing continuous improvement in a world that's just one damn thing after another.
31 Episodes
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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
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
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
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
0027: The People, Yes

0027: The People, Yes

2020-11-0203:04

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.'"
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" 
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."
0024: Options

0024: Options

2020-01-1304:32

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.
0023: Bottlenecks

0023: Bottlenecks

2019-12-0506:41

You can't make an hourglass flow faster by yelling at the sand. Discussed: queuing, constraints, Little's Law.
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: improvesomething.today/field-guide.
0021: Not knowing

0021: Not knowing

2019-11-0606:08

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.
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.
0019: Begin again

0019: Begin again

2019-09-2103:12

What to do when you're clinging to piano tops and concepts. Stephen Mitchell's version of Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching.
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.
0017: Throughput

0017: Throughput

2019-01-1204:17

Welcome back! Throughput, goodput, and making the most of it.
0016: Housekeeping

0016: Housekeeping

2018-08-1701:31

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.
0015: Countermeasures

0015: Countermeasures

2018-08-1603:31

Looking for countermeasures instead of solutions.
Revisiting the wastes of lean, and two particular types of waste.
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.
Learning and training when things are complicated.
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