COVID19, Rapid Facilitation of Learning

First, a Personal Note

My heart goes out to all those who’ve contracted COVID19, especially the families affected by those we’ve lost. Certainly, it’s a global event we will all remember. Because this is such an important event, there are learning opportunities even while we’re in the midst of the event. If I can be of assistance to anyone please let me know.

On to My Note

So, I offer an article that compares two regions in Italy and their decision-making process. It would appear, the winner adapted to changing conditions quickly. The article quoted states, “Rapid facilitation of learning” is key to learning from rapidly changing conditions. So, it states, we must sort out our own biases, merge past learning, and include present learning. This is a great witness to the power of LEAN thinking, this is exactly what I’ve been teaching and encouraging others to learn over the last 4 years.

Lombardy and Veneto

As written in the article: Lombardy, one Europe’s wealthiest and most productive areas, has been disproportionately hit by Covid-19. As of March 26, it held the grim record of nearly 35,000 novel coronavirus cases and 5,000 deaths in a population of 10 million. Veneto, by contrast, fared significantly better, with 7,000 cases and 287 deaths in a population of 5 million, despite experiencing sustained community spread early on.

Two italian regions

Population10 million5 million
COVID 19 cases35,0007,000
Deaths attributed to COVID195,000287
Rapid Facilitation of LearningNoYes
Data as of March 26th, 2020. From the HBR, article quoted below.

Lesson Learned: Rapid Facilitation of Learning is KATA.

And, what did they learn? The same lesson Mike Rother teaches in KATA. KATA is a way for everyone to adjust their way of making decisions using a routine anyone can practice. Mike is teaching this method in schools and in business. Whether you’re in business, policymaking, or a student, barriers to good decisions and choices affect your future. The goal for policymakers is to reduce the effect of Covid19, for business executives, plant floor leaders, teachers or mentors it is about achieving dreams and aspirations ahead.

Below is the quote that discusses “accelerating the diffusion of knowledge” it requires a different way of thinking. It also requires new team dynamics.

Experiment To Learn Quickly

The difficulty in diffusing newly acquired knowledge is a well-known phenomenon in both private- and the public-sector organizations. But, in our view, accelerating the diffusion of knowledge that is emerging from different policy choices (in Italy and elsewhere) should be considered a top priority at a time when “every country is reinventing the wheel,” as several scientists told us. For that to happen, especially at this time of heightened uncertainty, it is essential to consider different policies as if they were “experiments,” rather than personal or political battles, and to adopt a mindset (as well as systems and processes) that facilitates learning from past and current experiences in dealing with Covid-19 as effectively and rapidly as possible.


Mike Rother: LEAN Leader

Mike Rother, the leader in LEAN thinking posted to Twitter the article I’ve quoted. As a result, it’s a lesson’s learned opportunity for any leader. Because LEAN is about continuous improvement academics and leaders like Mike teach us how to improve how we think. As a LEAN coach I can say those who have a method to rapidly adapt to change will do well, just like Veneto has done so far for COVID19. That is, a Rapid Facilitation of Learning is the future for not only policymakers but students, teachers business professionals, and small businesses.

I have written on LEAN thinking a number of times. Here are a few posts: or and many others if you search on this site for the word LEAN you’ll find more than 50 posts. You should reach out to me so I can connect you with a LEAN expert in your area.

Lesson Learned: “Rapid Facilitation of Learning”

I use the underlying KATA methods to coach teams. It’s why I am often saying, stop-jumping-to-conclusions. Mike Rother’s phrase is, “knowledge Threshold.” in this article they say, “every country is reinventing the wheel.” The KATA in its simplest form is to coach how to use experimentation to solve problems, quickly, and move toward the goal or target. Similarly, this leads to Rapid Facilitation of learning.

You can see, Rapid facilitation of learning is required to sort out our own biases, past learning, and present learning, I am teaching this with LEAN techniques and watching teams hurdle barriers to achieving their goals is terrific. As a result, better decisions come from adapting quickly to what we know and don’t know.

LEAN is Rapid Facilitation of Learning

After 4 years of learning and working with LEAN I can say it is a beautiful tapestry that pulls together the best and latest thinking and helps adjust human behavior. LEAN is the engineers’ way of structuring and managing people, processes, and profits. Now, as the world moves so fast we need the insights and direction of LEAN, just like Italy’s two regions are a good example of two different ways of thinking, LEAN is a way of thinking that will help any team or organization make better decisions, quickly.

Find A LEAN Expert Near You

You can find out more about Rapid facilitation of learning by learning LEAN techniques. There are plenty of good teachers. Learn more by following all that Mike Rother is writing about, see where he posts often: Follow my site here, or follow other LEAN organizations like, the MichiganLEAN consortium. LEAN Enterprise Institute, Gemba Academy, and others.

Consider a TEAM learning session, I have offered classes in many different forms. Try this link or ask for classes to help your team.

What is LEAN? LEAN is the engineers’ way of structuring managing people, processes, and profits.

FREE: LEAN Learning For Owners

I’m hoping to find 5 – Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business grads interested in learning a little about LEAN for FREE. If better is elusive, let’s up your game; and who doesn’t want that?

Who uses LEAN?

You would be surprised at how many companies use LEAN to serve their customer better. They rely on LEAN everyday to sharpen their business. Here’s a published list of just a few; Ford, Toyota, John Deere, Parker Hannifin, Textron, Illinois Tool Works, Intel, Caterpillar, Kimberley-Clark, Nike; Source: Manufacturing Global.

Over the last 70 years, Engineers developed a business structure that solves problems and sustains improvements for every industry. The process of continuous improvement helps employees and managers focus their efforts on customers. There is a lot to LEAN but Small Business Owners rarely get the opportunity to LEARN LEAN.

LEAN In Practice:

An example of a quick fix, right-sized box, reordered the flow for packing.


The format is easy, 10-30 minutes of instruction then we go to the shop floor or office to apply what we just learned. Not only do you learn something but you get to practice it yourself.

The goal is to send you home with one tool you can apply immediately.


  • Wasted Employee Time & Money (Seeing Waste)
  • Sort Out Distractions (5S Work)
  • Visual Images To Communicate (Flow, PDCA, Mapping, VM)
  • Sustain Improvements Forever (LSW)
  • Process Focus, No More Blame (TWI, KATA, Culture)

The class will cover a different topic at each meeting.

Owner Host Location

Owners host the class and get a problem solved by participants. Each class will focus on a problem the host owner and I will choose ahead of time. Participants will use the class LEAN LEARNING to problem-solve with what was taught in class. Participants will learn more deeply and the host will have a focused event to solve their problem. Learning will be fast but putting it to work and taking it back to work means the deepest learning possible with the smallest amount of time.

Now that’s a no-waste effort!

Want To Host A Class?

Can you volunteer to host? If you have a workspace big enough to host 5 people and have a problem you want to be solved, call me to get started.

HIVE Foundation Donation Option

While there’s no cost, HIVE is a STEM non-profit that would gladly accept your donation.

Not Goldman Sachs Grad?

Not a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business grad but interested in attending, please send me a note or call.

LEAN Is The Future of Management

Change is worth the effort of change, it is why I love LEAN. Change defines life, work, and all people. Ironically, we all want tomorrow to be predictable. The rate of change in business is advancing quickly. It means disruption in that daily predictable life. What is disruption you ask? Check out Industry 4.0 for that well-detailed answer. The article quoted here is a good one, the point is preparation will require Small Business Owners to see the change coming. And, if they do see it, the Small Business Owner should embrace LEAN. The author proposes the retraining of employees as the answer and should have been more clear with LEAN as the answer.

Small Business Owners should embrace LEAN

Have you heard the phrase, “boil the ocean?” While this is true, it’s hardly the end game. How do you pick what’s next, or where to focus? I like the metaphor to describe both the size of the problem and also the number of problems Small Business Owners face. Often owners feel overwhelmed because it seems like they must “boil the ocean” to achieve the future.

Continue reading “LEAN Is The Future of Management”