1st Edition

Global Lean for Higher Education
A Themed Anthology of Case Studies, Approaches, and Tools

Edited By

Stephen Yorkstone

ISBN 9780367024284
Published July 17, 2019 by Productivity Press
450 Pages 60 B/W Illustrations

USD $64.95

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Book Description

Higher education (HE) is amongst the hardest sectors in which to apply lean. Universities resist change, their organizational cultures being far from the manufacturing environment where lean was born. The way HE organizations are structured, funded, and function globally is idiosyncratic; one size is unlikely to fit all. However, the sector is also dynamic and a mature understanding of lean, as a philosophy, led by principles, suggests there are many ways HE could grow through lean.

This collection of work reflects the state-of-the-art in the global practical application of lean for higher education. It aims to demonstrate the diverse applications of lean in universities inspiring others to deeply engage with lean thinking in their own unique context and to drive successful, sustainable, lean work.

Contributors are both well-known experts in lean HE and up-and-coming practitioners. Authors live globally, in countries such as Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Poland, the UK, and the USA. They represent higher education environments from applied teaching institutions to research-focused universities from 50 years old to more than 800 years old.

The collection focuses on lean applied across universities as a whole, often addressing the administrative support or professional services side of how these institutions work. The application of lean is not limited purely to the administration of such organizations but is applied to the primary purpose of universities: teaching and research.

This volume is not focused on lean theory. Instead, it discusses how HE institutions have taken lean forward and the lessons learned that others can share and learn from. It is composed of six sections: Starting out, People, Projects, Technology, Sustaining Lean, and Culture.

The rich and wide perspectives in this book will enable the reader to understand the many ways that lean thinking is applied in higher education globally. More importantly, this book will help the reader better understand and apply lean in the context of their own work.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Bill Balzer, Bowling Green State University. Introduction. List of contributors. Acknowledgements.  
Section I: Starting out. 1. Establishing Process Improvement Capability. 2. Tools to Get You Started. 3. VSM as a Tool for Creating a Lean Culture in a University. 4. "Lean" into your service model: An institutional case study using Library systems. 5. Developing a Continuous Improvement Service: From Inception to Reality in 18 months.
Section II: People. 6. Identity and Values to Drive Respect for People: A case-study based on embedding kindness as an organizational value.. 7. Inspiring Sustainable Higher Education and Lean through a Lean Ambassadors Network. 8. Improving Performance through Engagement – the Impact of Daily Stand-ups in the University of Strathclyde. 9. Readiness to change towards lean transformation among employee in Universiti Putra Malaysia..
Section III: Projects. 10. Applying Lean in Projects; from Visualisations to Process Engineering – It’s Covered!. 11. BOSCARD A scoping tool for Lean continuous improvement projects and beyond. 12. Six Sigma as a method for improving university processes, the case of the academic assessment process. 13. Lean Training to Lean Projects. Section IV: Technology. 14. Machine Leaning: Integrating Lean into IT. 15. Can Information Services Lead a Network of Change Agents in a HEI?. 16. Lean, Kanban and Agile, A Story of Continuous Improvement in a University Software Team. 17. Every Organisation Needs a Mole.
Section V: Sustaining. 18. Head, Heart, Hands: The three essentials to sustaining Lean. 19. Lessons from implementing lean at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. 20. Lessons from Cardiff University's Lean Experience.
Section VI: Culture. 21. Developing a Culture – the Essentials for Continuous Improvement. 22. Growing a Lean approach in a changing University. 23. Making sense of learning, practice and theory. 24. What if we knew the future could be different!

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Stephen Yorkstone enables continuous improvement in Edinburgh Napier University, where he works as an internal consultant.

In his role he facilitates and runs interventions, from "process reviews" to more tailored workshops; convenes an internal community of practice; and delivers support and advice informally and formally in terms of consultancy, coaching and training.

Externally to the University he chairs Lean HE, the international organisation for continuous improvement in universities (see: www.leanhe.org.)

In previous roles he established the "Lean team" in the University of St Andrews and co-designed the Lean "St Andrews Model".

In 2016 he authored "Lean Universities" in Routledge’s Companion to Lean Management.


"This book is well overdue. There has been a significant rise of the discussion and implementation of Lean in Higher Education over the past ten years and more so recently especially in the UK where we are seeing the continuing drive to improve quality and experience. Stephen has been at the heart of the communities, debates and implementations for over 10 years and so in a privileged position to write and reflect on the challenges but more importantly the benefits of Lean in Higher Education. This book gives insight and practical solutions to the what, why and how. A fantastic contribution to the growing publications on this important agenda. Enjoy!"

Professor Zoe Radnor FAcSS, Vice President (Strategy and Planning) and Professor of Service Operations Management at City, University of London


"Ensuring high and consistent quality of education is critically important for society. This requires that we spend the scarce educational resources well. Lean Education is instrumental in improving the student experience and the wise deployment of time and money. Stephen Yorkstone has done an excellent job in collecting a broad ranging overview of Lean improvement efforts in higher education. This anthology is a rich source of ideas and inspiration."

Dr. Vincent Wiegel, professor and co-chair of the Lean & World Class Performance research group
HAN University of Applied Science, The Netherlands