Saturday, March 9, 2013

Boy Scouts can do lean

One of the joys of life is I'm still learning, and a few days I learned of the link in thinking between Boy Scouts and Toyota Production System/Lean.  The similarities are two fold.  First is they are both learning organizations and second is how the learn.

I'm just going to comment on how each organization learns because it is so critical to their success and so simple.  They both "Learn by doing".
If you are experienced in Lean you will have realized that most of what you have learnt and know how to do has been by doing.  You may have first been exposed to an idea through a book, blog, coach or video.  You however only really learnt how to X by doing X.  Toyota and other Lean/learning companies put incredible emphasis on learning and doing.  The Scouts do the same.
The Scout Method has 7 elements, Learning by Doing is one of those elements.    From Wikipedia:  "Scouts games are full of practical action. This holds the participant's attention and gives the Scout hands-on experience in how the theory works."  One of the great parts of Scouting which any 12 year involved will tell you is they do things, sometimes tents fall down and more often than not canes will capsize.  The key element is that even if the event is not the success it was originally envisaged as everyone learns something.
So if Scouts can do, what is stopping the rest of us?

Edit:  I came across this from J Liker - The Toyota Way

Kiichiro’s  father  sent  him  to  the  prestigious  Tokyo  Imperial  University  to
study mechanical engineering; he focused on engine technology. He was able to
draw on the wealth of knowledge within Toyoda Automatic Loom Works on cast-
ing and machining metal parts. Despite his formal engineering education, he fol-
lowed in his father’s footsteps of learning by doing. Shoichiro Toyoda, his son,
described Kiichiro Toyoda as a “genuine engineer” who:
… gave genuine thought to an issue rather than rely on intuition. He alwaysliked to accumulate facts. Before he made the decision to make an automo-bile engine he made a small engine. The cylinder block was the most difficultthing to cast, so he gained a lot of experience in that area and, based on theconfidence he then had, he went ahead. (Reingold, 1999)His approach to learning and creating mirrored that of his father. After World
War II, Kiichiro Toyoda wrote, “I would have grave reservations about our ability
to rebuild Japan’s industry if our engineers were the type who could sit down to
take their meals without ever having to wash their hands.”

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