Creative Experimentation: Developing a Skill Critical for Managing Complex Operating Systems (Part two of a two-part series)

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series

Steven J. Spear
Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management; Senior Lecturer, MIT Engineering Systems Division; Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; and author, The High Velocity Edge

Date: January 30, 2012

Time: Noon - 1 p.m. EST

Open to all

Part one of the two-part series

MIT Tech TV

Download the presentation slides

About the Presentation

A broad-based capacity for experimentation is critical for organizations to succeed because the systems in which people are embedded are increasingly complex and fast. For instance, medical treatment used to be accomplished by "going to the doctor," a sole practitioner supported by a handful of other professionals, who mastered a body of scientific knowledge through steady practice. Now, thanks to the tremendous advances in medical science and technology, diagnosis and treatment span myriad disciplines and countless professionals. Doctors have to be masters in their own fields and masters in coordinating care delivery tailored to individual patients' needs. Experience can no longer be steadily accumulated over time. Rather, teams must experiment off-line so they are prepared for the variety of situations they'll face in real time. The same challenge of having to build knowledge in particular disciplines and learn quickly how to pull the pieces together into coherent efforts is characteristic of manufacturing design and production, services, information technology, and more.

Steven J. Spear's webinar will illustrate this migration from simple and stable to complex and fast, with examples of how organizations have learned to succeed by cultivating a capacity for high-speed, broad-based experimentation. A question and answer session will allow listeners to speculate about what would be involved in developing such a capability in their own organizations.

About the Speaker:

Operational excellence and innovation expert Steven J. Spear is a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, a senior lecturer in the MIT Engineering Systems Division, and a senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. His book, The High Velocity Edge, has won numerous awards, including the Philip Crosby Medal from the American Society for Quality in 2011.

Spear is an internationally recognized expert in leadership, innovation, and operational excellence, and he is an authority on how select companies in high-tech and heavy industry, design and production, manufacturing and services generate unmatchable performance by converting improvement and innovation from the rare kiss of inspiration to repeatable, broad-based, skill-based disciplines.

Spear's research has been exceptionally well acknowledged with five Shingo Prizes and a McKinsey award from Harvard Business Review. Spear's "Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System" and "Learning to Lead at Toyota," are part of the lean manufacturing canon. His "Fixing Healthcare from the Inside, Today" and articles in Annals of Internal Medicine and Academic Medicine have been on the forefront in healthcare improvement. He has contributed to the Boston Globe and New York Times, has appeared on Bloomberg TV and radio, CBS, and elsewhere. His clients have included well-known corporations like Intel, Lockheed Martin, Intuit, Novelis, Alcoa, General Electric, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Among other accomplishments, Spear helped the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative create its Perfecting Patient Care System. That has been credited with eliminating horrible complications like central line infections and thereby improving care quality while reducing costs. The Alcoa Business System, which he helped design and launch, is regularly credited with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual savings. Other clients have dramatically compressed time and costs for marketing processes, new product development, and software design.

About the Series

The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.

Steven J. Spear

Steven J. Spear

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