Tag Archives: Erfaringsutveksling

Har du tid til en kaffeprat?

Har du tid til en kaffeprat, er altså et spørsmål jeg fikk fra noen jeg ikke kjenner her om dagen. Spørsmålet droppet inn som en melding på LinkedIn fra en som jeg nylig fikk en kontaktforespørsel fra. På LinkedIn er jeg ganske liberal med hvem jeg legger til som kontakt, og i dette tilfellet var det et klassisk tilfelle med en person som kjente noen jeg kjente.

KaffepratSå kom altså dette spørsmålet om jeg hadde tid til en kaffeprat. Ikke sånn rett frem og uten noe annen informasjon, men en forespørsel om å ta en prat for å diskutere forbedringsarbeid og ikke minst hvordan man kan jobbe med kultur for forbedringsarbeid. For meg er jo det et av de mest interessante tema å diskutere, men likevel var min første reaksjon sånn passe lunka. Huff, prate med noen jeg ikke kjenner. Er ikke det strevsomt da? Men siden jeg i det siste har øvd meg på å bidra med min kompetanse både til kolleger og andre så svarte jeg likevel ja.

Det var i grunnen et godt valg for kaffepraten var både interessant og morsom. Min kaffepratvert jobber i et større Internasjonalt selskap som står i startgropen for å jobbe mer systematisk med forbedringsarbeid. For oss ved UiT har det å dele våre erfaringer med forbedringsarbeid vært en kilde til ny kunnskap i seg selv. Det er ikke feil å si at det er slik vi har lært (fra andre) mye av det vi i dag benytter av metoder. Dette var i alle fall godt investerte 30 minutter, og ikke minst en ny kontakt i et voksende nettverk.

Min utfordring til deg: Si ja oftere, også når det føles litt strevsomt.

-Svein Are Tjeldnes

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Continuous improvement up for a game of Nordic collaboration


When we started to learn about lean and continuous improvement at UiT the Arctic University of Norway, we quickly realized we needed a network, a kinship, to support us. We had little knowledge of which universities we could turn to, to hear those encouraging stories of thrilling successes or the chaotic tales of thundering failures (both equally important). Our perception was one of a growing number of universities in the UK that were heading down the winding road of continuous improvement.

Our foot in the door was a direct request to Christine Stewart at Cardiff University back in 2013. On the back of our visit to Cardiff,Lean HE logo we were invited to participate at the 2014 conference of the newly formed Lean in Higher Education hub in the UK (Now known as Lean HE). Literally as we flew to Waterloo (Canada) the following year, to build further on budding friendships, we formulated a desire for a similar Nordic network – not to mention a bold dream to hold a conference on continuous improvement ourselves. We even promised ourselves to use such a hypothetical opportunity to launch a Nordic initiative.


Fast forward 5 years to April 2020. Last week, we held our first meeting with Nordic colleagues. On the agenda: Exploration of a Lean in Higher Education Nordics network. Ironically, the lockdown due to the Corona crisis made it easier to go ahead with a fully virtual meeting – allowing 12 participants from 6 Nordic universities to meet and explore the interest of such a network. It was a pleasure to experience that the first meeting had a vibrant feel to it. As for the conclusion there was no doubt about the commitment between the participants, but rather a crispy clear desire to establish a Nordic branch of Lean HE Europe.

Hopefully, five years from today, we can look back at this meeting as an important steppingstone to acknowledge years of fruitful Nordic collaboration within continuous improvement and innovation.


Nordic countriesHaving observed the growth of the Lean HE network globally, and the value of “local” branches such as the Southern, the North and Midlands in the UK, Lean HE Poland and Lean HE Netherlands and Belgium, we are certain that a Nordic branch will prove valuable as well. The Nordic countries have strong ties and shared values at their core. Lean HE Nordics will give us a platform to collaborate, explore and innovate on our journey of continuous improvement.

-Svein Are Tjeldnes

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Make the most of your and your colleagues’ time

Click for Dep. of Pharmacy youtube video

Last week we were fortunate enough to act on an invitation to do a presentation at the annual seminar for faculty and administrative staff at the Department of Pharmacy at our University. It is quite common for us to be invited to present some of the work we do, both internally and externally, but this was actually the first time the invitation came from a seminar mainly for faculty members. An interesting and very welcomed opportunity to discuss some of our ideas with those who actually work with our core business: teaching and research.

It all came to be as I for some time have had discussions on work efficiency, waste of time and how to deliver valuable contributions to the student experience with my colleague and good friend, Professor Morten B. Strøm. Morten is, as I see it, genuinely interested in developing his own teaching and looking at how he himself can change his ways in order to help the students learn better.

Svein Are and Julia

For us, being asked to present at such a seminar is a near perfect pitch to be able to raise some questions and maybe even get some new thoughts sparked off among the faculty members. The alternative is to invite ourselves out there, but as you know, pull is by far preferred to push.

We had 75 minutes in the program, and through a joint understanding with the Department Head, we decided to address three topics of interest with the heading “Make the most of your and your colleagues’ time”.

  • Identifying time thieves (using the 8 wastes as a reference) and dealing with them
  • How to start thinking of changing the way we interact, and
  • A session on a potential new way to increase the output of academic writing (with the help from Niklas Modig’s theory on looping[1]).

Feedback from the participants so far suggests that it was a fun and valuable session, with some inspiration for new ideas. Moreover, as we used some of the time to talk about waste, they fortunately pointed out that this hour was not an example of such.

It was interesting and felt important finally to be able to present and discuss aspects of the improvement process with members of faculty. They are the ones working directly with our core business, and they are the ones most able to improve the student experience efficiently. So far, we have been doing most of the improvement work within the administrative field, improving back office processes more than the front line.

For us, the most important take home message was an essential question from one of the faculty members: “How do we know that it works?” She was referring to one of our earliest improvement processes at UiT (back in 2010), namely the process of hiring phD-scholars. Even though the lead-time in this process, through a structured improvement initiative was reduced by 42%, she still experienced that it took too long from start to finish. Through this we find some core take-home points, valuable to be reminded of:

  • We need to show that the improvement process actually improves something
  • The processes improved must be perceived as important to staff and students
  • We need constantly to think of how to improve the improvement process itself

-Svein Are Tjeldnes

[1] Inspired from the TED-SSE lecture «lean on yourself»

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Lean Down Under

Click on the picture to see a short video from the conference.

The Lean in Higher Education (leanHE) conference 2017 has come to end and, and as I sit on the plane from Sydney to Bangkok I’ll take the opportunity to write down some thoughts. Time flies, and it is hard to believe that it has been a full year since we left Scotland after the 2016 conference (which inspired our first improvement blog). In the day-to-day work and operations it might sometimes be difficult to spot the overall progress, but the conference gave a good opportunity to think about this. In the next passages I’ll sum up a couple (out of many) learning points as I give my view on the impact of the Sydney conference for me and my colleagues from UiT The Arctic University of Tromsø (UiT).

UiT has participated in this annual conference series with two or more delegates each year since it was held in Cardiff in 2014. This has had major impact on our work with continuous improvement. In Waterloo, in 2015, we were informally asked if we would be interested in hosting the conference at some point. In 2016, in Stirling, there was a soft launch of news that UiT would host the conference in 2018. Finally, this year in Sydney, it was a pleasure to formally announce Tromsø and UiT as the host for the next leanHE-conference.

With the knowledge that we would be responsible for next year’s conference, we travelled to Sydney not only to learn more about lean and continuous improvement in higher education, but also to observe how Macquarie University ran the event, the flow and feel of the conference and the overall output. We bring a lot of useful knowledge on this back home.

Another important discovery for us was that we are more capable of bringing experience and knowledge to the conference than we have been before. It was a good experience to be able to present some of the work we do at UiT. There are always new angles and takes on different problems, and so one of the most useful outputs was the many opportunities to grow larger and stronger networks with colleagues from all over the world.

For my part, the most interesting presentations came from Vincent Wiegel and Tobias Byron. Vincent (from HAN University) made sure to challenge and engage the audience, even a bit provocative – which is good. It was interesting to see how he made use of digital solutions to interact with the participants during the presentation. Tobias (from the Macquarie group) brought reflections on what he whish he knew about lean ten years ago. Interesting to see how embedded lean was in a large company.

It is always good to meet old friends, but just as good (and important) to make new ones. We made the most of the time in Sydney. I feel certain that we have strengthened our ties with existing networks across Europe and made new connections in both Europe and Australia. Making new connections is a promise for the opportunity to learn something new.

Our goal for next year’s conference in Tromsø is to make it both practical and applicable. Primarily we want every speaker to have practical and interactive elements in their presentations. We’d like to arrange more workshops where participants get to practice new skills and techniques, and also where we all can be inspired to use new technology both in teaching and facilitating process improvement.

Finally yet importantly, I want to congratulate Valerie Runyan, her team and the Macquarie University for a conference well done and for hospitality beyond what anyone could expect. 150 participants and speakers have been attended to in every possible way. We are very grateful for this, and as we continue planning next year’s conference in Tromsø we will make sure to make good use of Valerie’s knowledge and experience.

Welcome to Tromsø and UiT the Arctic University in Norway next year.

On the conference web-pages you can now pre-register for the conference. https://egencia.qondor.com/lean2018

-Svein Are Tjeldnes

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Say it, do it, and improve it! – Impressive learning impact

For two days, UiT The Arctic university of Norway visited the Business Improvement Team (BIT) at the University of Strathclyde to attend their “Lean for Leaders” course in September this year. The strong collaboration between the improvement teams at the two universities has arisen from the LeanHE global network, allowing us to tap into a large joint source of knowledge, experience and expertise.

Following John Hogg’s (Director of Continuous Improvement) Erasmus+ visit to Tromsø in April, we managed to visit Glasgow this September. An excited group of 10 UiT leaders (and two from the improvement team) met early on Sunday morning at the Airport in Tromsø, suddenly realising that travelling to Glasgow is not a walk in the park. Anyway, the journey was pleasantly uneventful. After being welcomed by our host, a nice social evening and a short but efficient night’s sleep, we were all ready to attend Strathclyde’s well renowned lean course.

Graham Ross led us through two days of intense learning, instructive (and FUN!) exercises, lots of reflection, all with a well-balanced sense of humour (I won’t repeat the one with KAI-COSTA though) and participant challenges. With the help of John Hogg, Susan Ali and Susan Hillis we managed to cover topics like the two main Pillars of Lean, the 5 Core Principles, the 8 Wastes, Value Stream Mapping, Evidencing Benefits, Lean Leadership Model, Improvement Kata, 5S, and even more.

In addition to all the expert (and friendly) teaching, coaching and training delivered as part of the course, my feeling is that it was one point in particular that enhanced learning for our group – and made for a classic and powerful Eureka-moment: We could actually witness ourselves that Graham and the rest of the BIT practice what they preach. After going through extensive training with examples and models, we could pop into the next room and witness them working on actual improvement processes throughout the university exactly the way they taught us. They told us how to do it, and showed us they were doing it.

We cannot recall ever having had that same experience in any other course we have attended. It is not even all about the processes they are working on, but the whole way the team is organised and how they work together. The office space, the project rooms, the course room, the mind-set of the team members, and even the storage space and cupboards are all live examples of working in a continuous improvement environment. Inspirational!

Yet, after all this, there is more. The whole key, of course, is not only to practice as you preach but also to evolve and improve. With the BIT’s Daily Stand Up meeting, they aim not only to help others improve, but to improve their own way of doing it. In short, impressive.

For our part, it remains for us to put some of the new knowledge to good use. Our improvement team will work closely with each of the ten participants to ensure that they will get support to form and initiate their own improvement projects within their teams. For us especially, it has been rewarding to be able to learn from colleagues with more experience and to be able to have ten leaders from UiT attend this course at Strathclyde (not easy or cheap to make this happen). Most importantly though, I look forward to following our leaders’ improvement projects and evidencing the impact this collaboration will have on our organisation. And you can all feel safe that we will share how things move on from here in another blog.

To sum it all up: Say it – Do it – and then  Improve it!

Huge thanks to John Hogg, Graham Ross, Susan Ali and Susan Hillis for letting us tap into their way of working and for being such excellent hosts for our arctic band of travellers.

-Svein Are Tjeldnes & Julia Sempler

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Et perfekt hjem

Hva skal til for å få 21 voksne kursdeltakere til å hive seg over legobrikkene med samme iver som en 6-åring på julaften? Det er lett. Det er bare å arrangere kurs om lean-prinsipper.

Forrige torsdag arrangerte Lean Forum Tromsø (LFT) et praktisk kurs i grunnleggende lean-prinsipper på UiT Norges Arktiske Universitet. LFT er et nettverk bestående av enkeltpersoner og organisasjoner/bedrifter som har interesse for, og arbeider med, lean og forbedringsarbeid. Det har lenge vært et ønske fra styret i LFT å kunne tilby en kursrekke for nettverkets medlemmer, og endelig ble det anledning til å komme i gang.

Kurset ble raskt fulltegnet og det var en forventningsfull gjeng som møttes til 3 timers praktisk læring, for anledningen med UiT som vertskap. De ca. 20 deltakerne kom fra forskjellige bedrifter og organisasjoner i Tromsø, for eksempel UNN, Norsk Polarinstitutt, Drytech, Skatteetaten m.fl. Kursholderne, Ina Sandberg fra Norsk Helsenett og Guri Homb Hansen fra Tromsø Kommune, gikk rett på sak og startet med de 5 kjerneprinsippene i lean. Med det som grunnlag fikk deltakerne uten videre gå i gang med den praktiske øvelsen, legobygging – en klassiker innen leankursing. Jobben bestod i å bygge to perfekte hjem etter utleverte instruksjoner, samtidig som de tok tiden på hvor lang tid de brukte. De ferdige produktene ble også målt på kvalitet samtidig som hver gruppe måtte vurdere egen trivsel under arbeidet.

Det slutter aldri å overraske meg hvor engasjert folk blir på slike kurs, med spill og enkel konkurranse. Så snart gruppene går i gang med oppgaven er fokuset helt enestående og alt annet blir uviktig. Mellom hver runde med produksjon av perfekte hjem ble lean-prinsipper og teori gjennomgått av kursholderne, og hver gruppe fikk gjennomføre egne tavlemøter med sikte på forbedring av byggeprosessen. Det var inspirerende å se hvor store forbedringer de enkelte gruppene klarte å få til, og hvor godt øvelsen illustrerte verdien av lean-prinsippene i praktisk bruk. Jeg vil rette en stor takk til Ina og Guri for å holde et morsomt, innholdsrikt og nyttig kurs, til deltakerne for høyt engasjement og gode diskusjoner og ikke minst til Lean Forum Tromsø som tok initiativ til og la til rette for gjennomføring av kurset.

Du finner mer informasjon om Lean Forum Tromsø på facebooksiden: www.facebook.com/leanforumtromso

-Svein Are Tjeldnes

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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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