Lean for government… a fad that will pass… really?

KM-FishCartoon1The two days whizzed by. Executives dropped by our booth at the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada’s (APEX) annual symposium to chat about Lean for government. Lean thinking in the federal and provincial public sectors is definitely gaining momentum in Canada. One executive, however, surprised me when he assertively declared: “Lean. Here’s another fad that will pass!”

I spent 20 years in the federal public service, almost half of which as an executive. I saw fads, growth, cuts, re-orgs, decentralization and centralization, but never have I lived such a promising approach to truly improving government. Lean is a scientific approach to problem solving and creating learning organizations, where everyone at every level is a problem solver. With its pillars of ‘continuous improvement’ and ‘respect for people’ and its focus on delivering value for citizens in a better, faster, easier and cheaper way, Lean for government should not even be an option. Every taxpayer in this country wants his or her hard-earned dollars to be invested where value is delivered, every day. I have yet to hear one taxpayer who would declare ‘there is no need to continuously improve government every day’. Lean for government a fad? I don’t think so.

Originally published on LinkedIn Lean for government… a fad that will pass… really?