Higher-Order Organizations and the Post-Lean Future

July 8, 2015

In most organizations that have embraced Lean, including Toyota, hierarchical structure still persists. This does not fit well with the type of organizations we see emerging in the near future. Our world is being disrupted by exponentially developing technology, automation of all routine work, shorter employee tenures and organizational lifespans, dynamic freelance markets and an increasing desire for self-actualization. Spontaneous generation and dissolution of organizations and loosely coupled networks of organizations will be the norm rather than the exception. We call this the Post-Lean Future.

In this article we describe the Post-Lean Future and discuss the tension between just-in-time organizations and developing people. We suggest higher-order organizations, organizations that generate other organizations, as a possible way out, preserving the relevance of Lean for tomorrow’s organizations.

Lean Leadership in a Disruptive World

July 3, 2015

Lean Leadership is a leadership style that focuses on developing subordinates as problem-solvers and innovators so they can evolve the organization faster. In this article we discuss existing obstacles to Lean Leadership, how these are about to grow much larger due to disruptive technology, and what the road ahead might look like.

Extending Lean for Knowledge Work: A Retrospective

June 25, 2015

Over the last decade, the Lean Systems Institute has helped non-manufacturing and knowledge-intensive organizations that wanted to improve execution and become Learning Organizations. This white paper discusses how we extended Toyota’s Lean for this purpose and reviews some lessons learned.