Noen ganger bør man gå over bekken etter vann, men ikke hver gang

Jeg har tidligere skrevet om hvor viktig det er å bygge gode internasjonale nettverk innen forbedringsarbeid, og jeg kommer snart til å gjøre det igjen. Samtidig bør vi prøve å unngå «gå over bekken»-fella hver gang. Det er jo ikke slik at det kun er internasjonalt samarbeid som er saliggjørende.

Vår nabo UNN har drevet med forbedringsarbeid og kontinuerlig forbedring lenge og har på mange måter vært en inspirasjonskilde for UiT i dette arbeidet. I går ble vi invitert til UNN for erfaringsutveksling og igjen opplevde jeg et godt eksempel på hvor lite det koster å lære av hverandre også i nærområdet.

Det er heller ikke slik at enhver erfaringsutveksling må involvere titalls personer og vare minst en dag. I forbedringsarbeidets natur ligger det jo en tilbøyelighet til å se på nytte i forhold til kostnad. Et halvdagsseminar som inkluderer 20 personer utgjør 80 arbeidstimer (nesten to ukeverk). Da bør vi være sikre på at seminaret tilfører verdi.

I løpet av gårdagens 2 timer fikk jeg og Karin Eilertsen anledning til å lære om UNNs forsterkede arbeid med kontinuerlig forbedring, læringspunkter fra besøk til Børneriget (hvor leanprinsipper tas i bruk ved bygging av nytt sykehus), læringspunkter fra lean-helse konferanse i Brüssel og ikke minst tips og triks i forhold til den konferansen vi selv skal arrangere i november 2018.

Jeg setter stor pris på initiativet fra UNN og tenker det er et par læringspunkter å ta med seg for oss, rent ut over erfaringene de presenterte:

  • Ikke gå over bekken etter vann hver gang (men noen ganger)
  • Å dele egen erfaring med andre gir læring også til egen organisasjon, ikke bare til mottaker
  • Folk som arbeider på UNN er ikke bare kompetente men også hyggelige

Takk til Merete Postmyr, Harald Lind og Kristin Paulgaard for to verdifulle timer.

– Svein Are Tjeldnes

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Det brenn på dass!

The Lean HE Global Steering committee (some missing the photo-opportunity).

Last week we boarded a plane headed for the UK, with Leeds and Sheffield as our destinations, where we participated in meetings in the Lean HE Europe and Lean HE Global steering groups as well as a community of practice seminar. Moreover, as customs demand we took the opportunity to teach our UK friends a tiny bit of essential Norwegian, such as “Det brenn på dass” (sure we could have chosen worse phrases). Now, you might wonder where we want to go with this, but you’ll know in a minute.

As of 2016, UiT the Arctic University of Norway has been a steering group member of an international network for lean in higher education (HE). The Lean HE network is a global consortium of universities, all aiming to promote continuous improvement philosophies in HE through networking, the sharing of best practice and by supporting the delivery of a conference series. You can read more about Lean HE on the website: http://www.leanhe.org/

Building, participating in and contributing to a network for continuous improvement specific to higher education has been a chosen strategy for our improvement initiative, and it was early quite clear to us that we had to turn to international waters in order be part of a larger community. To tell a long story short: By a semi-planned search, we came across a UK-based network for lean in higher education – The lean HE Hub, and as soon as we reached out, we were warmly welcomed.

Det brenn på dass! But the University of Sheffield is clearly doing something about it.

So what about the title: “Det brenn på dass”. (It literally means that the toilet is on fire). In English, you would use the phrase “burning platform”, but our UK colleagues rather took to the Norwegian term as a somewhat more colorful description of a state of emergency. When the john/wc/toilet/loo/shitouse burns, you’re in dire trouble. If you don’t put that fire out you won’t be able to go about your business the next day, and we wouldn’t want that would we?

The thing is, we all want to move from an organisational state where we operate by firefighting and to a state where fires are prevented instead of fought. Collaboration ensures new perspectives, massive learning and makes it possible to reach for something further away than you could reach on your own. Maybe even a small step away from firefighting.

For us, being part of a larger community has been beneficial beyond our hopes. There is great value to meet and discuss with people who work with the same challenges as you do. Discussions, both formal and informal that gives new perspective to old problems, workshops and coaching-sessions where everyone brings a piece of an unknown solution and the recognition from peers – all part of a common effort to lift ourselves. In this way, networking itself adds value to our processes.

The next step in our international collaboration with other universities working with continuous improvement is a visit to UiT from John Hogg, Director of continuous improvement at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. During his Erasmus+ funded visit from the 18th to April 22, we will make the most of it, having planned several activities with different groups of people and of course an open community of practice seminar. Make sure to read more and sign on to this seminar!

What better way to illustrate the value of international collaboration than to make sure the learning is of mutual benefit to everyone.

-Julia Holte Sempler and Svein Are Tjeldnes

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