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Lean Design

Architects often tout their experience with Lean Design (Six-Sigma, Kaizen, etc.) with little or no real-world expertise.

 

The most common error is when we look at a space and design it to optimize the performance of the people who use it.  This is part of Lean Design, but hardly the whole process.  A major component that the architect typically doesn’t get involved with is if the end-users of the space are actually working in a way that is truly efficient.  We only solve part of the problem is we place an inefficient process in an efficient space.

 

Lean Design has to do with the whole process and everything that touches it.  By making something easier and more efficient for one group of people, might make things more difficult and inefficient for others.  Lean Design has to do with taking a whole organization and seeing how things can be improved to benefit the process as a whole.

 

Lean Design needs to involve everyone.  There is nobody “too-small” or “too-large” to be part of the process.  Does a patient-room wing of a hospital work for the nurses?  If so, that’s only part of the equation.  It also needs to work for Patients, Families, Materials Management, Doctors, Custodial Staff, Pharmacists, IT Specialist, Facilities, etc.  Anyone who has a good or service “touch” that wing should have an input on how it will impact their process.

 

In the end, it takes more than Architectural Design to create Lean Design.  We are only part of a much larger process.

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