NEWS – In February, the Dutch affiliate of the Lean Global Network turned 10, and to mark the occasion a party was organized. Friends old and new joined institute staff for a night to remember, between canapés and a stroll in the obeya.
At one point or another in your career, perhaps while scratching your head over a particularly complicated A3, you may have wondered: “Do lean people like me ever get to have some fun?”
The answer is yes, at least if the February 20th party for the 10th anniversary of the Lean Management Instituut is any indication.
You’d think wine and cupcakes would do the trick, but for good measure the guys at LMI decided to throw in some simulation games and even a raffle.
The result was a lean-themed night with an entire Oobeya room at the guests’ disposal, intense discussions on lean taking place in every corner of the building, and even a javelin board put up for those among the attendees who wanted to learn more about the lean startup and its principles and techniques.
The party started with a speech from LMI’s founder and CEO, René Aernoudts, followed by Professor Dan Jones, who looked back at the first time he met René at a summit in Germany.
Speaking in front of a crowd of about 70, Professor Jones said: “From the beginning, René and I shared the same desire to understand the evolution of organizations and the role that people and culture play in it.”
He also joked about how he sent René on assignments to Siberia or Egypt (places where he didn’t want to go himself), leveraging his eagerness to learn and spread the word on lean.
After looking back at the evolution of lean thinking in a 15-minute speech, he left the audience with an encouraging message for the community: “The seeds we planted are growing. There is just a bit more watering to do.”
Aernoudts said: “It’s been a great decade! We share the passion for solving problems using lean and it’s been an amazing journey so far. I sign up for another ten years straight away.”
Friends of LMI from many organizations attended the event, many of them having spent time at the institute for training and workshops or having welcomed LMI at their gemba.
One of the attendees, from a construction company, recalled the first time René showed up to provide some training: “After the first session, my team and I wrote a letter to the board outlining all the reasons why we were resisting the move of having somebody from outside the organization help us.”
Resistance was overcome only after the team was let into an Oobeya and their assumptions challenged, and bluntly (in true Dutch style) proved wrong, according to René, whose smile could be seen from across the room.
Another guest, who works in government, attended an LMI course to introduce hoshin kanri in his organization. He said: “Hoshin is a mixture of innovation and common sense, but the course really helped me to put it in context.”
Consultant Richard van Ooijen joined LMI only five months ago. “I never would have thought I’d learn so much so quickly. This is a great place to work – I’ve been here a few months and I’m already involved with projects in so many different sectors, from an insurance firm to a high-tech manufacturer.”
The buzz of the networking was soon interrupted by the screams of excitement coming from the three winners of the raffle, who brought home a certificate for a free Postgraduate Lean Practitioner Program with LMI and by the noisy rounds of applause that followed. Who said lean folks never have fun?
So, here’s 8 reasons why the LMI party last week was great…
#1 There were balloons…
#2 … and cupcakes
#3 Dan Jones gave a speech
#4 It was an evening among friends
#5 The LMI office was turned into a great networking space
#6 Experienced lean consultants were around to answer people’s questions
#7 There were lots of smiles every where…
#8 … and cupcakes! Okay, we already said that, but the cupcakes were REALLY good!