Organizational Learning Systems, Inc. 
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Lean thinking

The human mind at work
Friday, Nov. 8 Location Code
8:00am-12:00pm Michigan 3, East Tower, Concourse Level FW/04

This workshop leads attendees via mindful exercises through some of the challenges of understanding lean thinking and proposes a systematic learning process to support its individual and organizational development. Learn how to practice lean thinking in various work environments. Participative exercises will promote hands-on discovery.


Although the practice of lean thinking is generally regarded as a precondition for successful organizational transformation, there are many elements and characteristics we do not understand. Is lean thinking a distinctive mode of cognition; if so, does it complement or displace conventional modes of organizational thinking? Does it require a quorum to manifest and sustain itself - is there a role for individual practitioners or does the whole organization have to adapt? How are common sense and shared reality created? Can we assess its maturity, and what are the effects of different industries, cultures and environments? Gain insights into the contrast between conventional and lean operational thinking; the characteristics of systems thinking; lean thinking perspectives in business, engineering and psychology; cognitive, social and cultural paradigms; the relationship between lean thinking and job design; the role of underlying human dispositions, and much more.


Organizational Learning Systems, Inc. is a specialized practice offering lean systems transformation and development support through training, coaching, education and consulting. In addition to manufacturing, the portfolio includes healthcare and services, two industries requiring advanced, customized solutions grounded in their own, specific value propositions. On the basis of original research at Toyota and other leading companies conducted since 1994, OLS has created an integrated lean systems model that leverages the four factors of lean enterprise competitiveness: superior value proposition, lean governance, coupled systems work flow, and discretionary employee contributions. A broad range of customizable assessment, training, education and coaching offerings are available.

Presenter: Joachim Knuf

Joachim Knuf founded Organizational Learning Systems in 1998. He is a former professor of organizational communication at the University of Kentucky. After first teaching the principles and practices of Japanese management at UK in 1989, he became one of the original architects of the model lean systems research and education program created at the invitation of Toyota Motor Manufacturing between 1994 and 2006, adding the position of director for lean enterprise development at the UK Center for Manufacturing. Through programs Knuf developed, over 4,000 executive, managerial and operational lean champions have been trained, supported through implementation projects, and certified.