Lean in Higher Education

Lean: An Introduction

For those new to the concept, Lean is a term for an approach to continuously improving workplace activity. Lean can seem deceptively simple to do, even "just common sense", but in practice it is a significant commitment to implement. 
Lean springs from two concepts:
  • Respect for people and 
  • Continuous improvement
Further, Lean has five principles:
  • Identify value
  • Map the value stream
  • Create flow
  • Establish pull
  • Seek perfection

Lean in Higher Education

What do we mean by "higher education," and Lean in that context?

Universities and higher education are terms that can be deceptively complicated as institutions in the sector are often comprised of many different sub cultures. We tend towards a broad understanding of these terms.

By higher education, we mean education at a high level educational organisation, which results in the awarding of degrees. We also use the term to refer to the University sector, so therefore include organisations that undertake research. 

Most commonly, Lean approaches are applied to service activity in universities (finance, libraries, accommodation, etc), however they are increasingly being used to improve teaching and research activity directly.