225
12
Reflections
In building this book, I have focused very little on describing how tools
of Lean manufacturing can apply to the innovation space. Instead, I have
focused on the purpose of research and development (R&D) itself and
have developed areas of Lean research that address, very specically, the
needs of innovation for both individuals and communities as well as the
managers and systems that operate within them.
Lean invariably arises from purpose, and as we have seen, the purpose
of R&D is dierent from that of manufacturing. It is dierent from every
other business construct, in that its sole purpose is to innovate by creating
new, valuable packages of knowledge that the company can use to (a) cre-
ate, sell, or improve its existing products and processes or (b) sell, through
license or direct means, to other people and organizations.
To serve this purpose well, we also went back to the basic core of Lean
thinking and the purpose of Lean. In manufacturing, the purpose of Lean
was to create clean (5S—sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain),
eective (ow, Kanban, low waste), exible, people-centric manufacturing
environments. e purpose of Lean manufacturing is to create a manu-
facturing environment in which people (and their companies) can our-
ish. It does not take a lot of eort to generalize this purpose to Lean in any
endeavor by stating simply that the purpose of Lean is to create environ-
ments in which people can ourish.
Taken together, Lean in R&D is the science of creating innovation
environments in which people can ourish. Unfortunately, ourishing
manufacturing environments have a dierent purpose than ourishing
innovation environments, and concepts and tools that support the former
do not always support the latter. As a result, I have described several ideas,
some of them new, that specically support the creation of an innovation
226 • Creating a Lean R&D System
environment. Each of these concepts, in its own way, supports creative
thought, innovation, and/or the innovation community in a quest to build
valuable knowledge packages that serve their purpose.
e rst of these new Lean concepts is the seeing, reframing, experienc-
ing, and growing learning loop. Like all learning loops, it describes, in
a dierent way, the same underlying thought process that humans have
always engaged in creating. But of course, language helps emphasize a
new range, even in old concepts, and the “seeing, reframing, experienc-
ing, and growing” learning loop emphasizes that our learning and innova-
tion are primarily hindered by how we currently see the world and frame
it in our minds. It is axiomatic that we cannot reframe our world in an
easier and more eective way until we can see our assumptions about it
and the context in which our current beliefs arise. at we can learn to see
that context and its associated beliefs and assumptions in a structured and
teachable way debunks the self-defeating belief that creativity, innovation,
and ashes of brilliant thinking cannot be learned.
By keeping the “seeing, reframing, experiencing, and growing” con-
struct in mind, the A3 process—already well established in the Lean com-
munity—takes on new and profoundly useful meaning within the R&D
community. A3 is ideally suited to the improvement of scientic thought.
It creates simultaneous rigor around the scientic learning loop, support-
ing rigorous “regular science” and, at the same time, the “eureka!” process
represented in the “seeing, reframing, experiencing, and growing” learn-
ing loop. A3 is a fast, concise format that makes it easy to practice, easy to
share, and easy to engage others. It serves to instill rigor; to create a think-
ing structure; and to support mentoring, scientic communications, and
community building.
Creative, structured thinking, of course, is not enough to deliver
good innovation. An innovation community must be able to integrate
new knowledge from dierent experiments, usually developed by sev-
eral researchers over the course of time. Many innovations, particularly
those bringing basic research to the marketplace—whether in consumer,
manufacturing, or pharmaceutical realms—integrate experiments over
years and sometimes decades. Entire waves of researchers will work on
such projects. ese facts of R&D lead to information and coordina-
tion diculties not generally seen in other areas of business. Moreover,
research builds and integrates knowledge, ideas, and trains of thought

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