ARTICLE - Lean thinking draws inspiration and has the ability to learn from a variety of sources, and this is perhaps one of the reasons why it's been able to adapt so well to applications in so many environments. And sometimes the greatest learnings are hidden in unexpected places. Ever wondered what acupuncture and lean have in common?
Words: Marcus Chao, President, Lean Enterprise China
Traditional Chinese medicine has always been a bit of a mystery to me.
When I was a kid, my uncle - a doctor - took care of me and my health. Because he received his medical training in Germany,I never experienced alternative medicine until much later in my life. In fact, the first time I went for a massage treatment was in 1995, when I worked in China.
I may not be a regular Chinese medicine user, but my curiosity has grown in recent years. As I started to read articles about it, I developed the idea that Chinese medicine and Western medicine are complementary, and that a combination of the two may bring great benefits to our healthcare systems.
Last year, something different occured to me. After visiting a hospital in Guangzhou, Guang Dong province, which I was helping with their lean transformation, I began to identify a number of similarities and synergies between Chinese medicine tools and concepts and the principles guiding lean thinking.
Here's some of my thoughts in the following slides:
Looking, Smelling, Asking, Listening vs Gemba
Ensuring vital channels flow vs Flow
Acupuncture and massage vs Problem solving
Balanced body system vs Stability
Finding best practice and using it as guideline vs Standard work
Preventive care vs TPM
Developing life vs Lean thinking
Learning more about Chinese medicine and healthcare provided me with an alternative, fresh way to look at lean thinking.
Have you come across similar approaches to increasing your understand lean?