Friday, August 19, 2011

Mobile Apps and Lean

By Al Norval,

Like many of you, I’m having to learn a new vocabulary and a new way of managing in this world that seems to be spinning faster and faster every passing day. Years ago, I learned e-mail, then it was texting & IM and now it’s smart phones and apps. It’s interesting to note that every new thing that comes along claims to be able to make our lives more efficient which I translate to mean more waste free. While there is some truth in this, the efficiency gains (waste reductions) are overcome by the amount of information coming at us in an ever increasing torrent.

Some of this information is truly helpful. I have to admit, I like the Sports app which allows me as a long suffering hockey fan to look up the scores for my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. Unfortunately, I don’t usually like the score but that’s another story. As a customer, I find value in the way & speed this information is made available to me and so there is value in this app. Likewise for the weather app I use. As I travel many days of the year, I find value in being able to look up the weather in a number of different cities and being able to see it quickly and up to date. Like the hockey scores, I don’t always like what I see.

These apps are great because they do provide value to me the Customer. The information is up to date and provided to me on demand in a way that is visual and so easy to understand. I can quickly get an update and so react appropriately.

In the Lean world, we face the same situation. When we are at Gemba or working with a team, how do we get a quick update on Lean basis? How do we know how to react? How do we know how and what to teach to our teams?

Many times we are away from our workstations and come across a problem or a moment when we could teach teams Lean Mental Models and the basic way of thinking. Unfortunately, we are away from our normal material and need to rely on our memory. We need quick access to the information but don’t have it at our fingertips. The opportunity passes.

Now we can use the same app technology on smart phones. I’d like to introduce the Lean Mental Models app for BB & iPhone. It’s twelve Lean Mental Models contrasted against the Conventional Mental Models that we can use when we are away from our workplaces but still need quick access to the Lean Mental Models.

Like the other Sports and Weather apps, I’m sure you will find value in this app.

Available at:

Blackberry App:


  1. What about us over in the Android world?

  2. Great point Tim. Thanks for prompting us to develop an Android version.
    This proves the power of quick Customer feedback.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.