Posted by: Knightbird | February 27, 2015

National Governors Association (NGA) Lean Initiative

A Lean colleague shared information with me about the new NGA Chairman’s initiative for lean government. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced the initiative as he began his term. Here’s a link to a discussion of the initiative.

As a citizen of the US and Alaska, I want my government to be effective. Whenever I had an opportunity to talk to a politician about lean government, I have taken that opportunity. More often than not, they want to turn the conversation over to supporting them and seeking financial support. They completely ignore the information. I have tried that with all kinds of candidates. In all fairness, I have had to that listened to my talk. Both are attempting to do something with the information. I appreciate that.

Governor Hickenlooper served as the mayor of Denver and I could not find any information on Lean Government implementation in Denver during his tenure. However, his successor launched Denver’s Peak Performance initiative on day one of his administration. And they projected annual savings of $10 million, which I believe is really low given the size of Denver’s budget.

John Shook wrote about Lean Government last summer and offered to Gemba Walk with any local government willing to implement Lean and he would publicize the results. He spoke about his Gemba Walks in Melbourne, AU. It was quite an interesting story. One of the value streams he walked was parking enforcement. Efficient enforcement actually reduced revenue. So the question that had to be confronted involved the mission of process improvement: revenue or public benefit (not that revenue doesn’t benefit the public). Parking enforcement generally has a purpose of allowing access to parking for areas that have needs. If parking turnover increases, you have arguably benefitted someone. If you goal is revenue, then you don’t want to be so efficient that you reduce revenue.

What Hickenlooper is doing will serve to influence others. Results Washington, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Oregon and Minnesota all have lean government efforts. I commend each of them along with Governor Hickenlooper, for their interest in efficiency. It is possible, and I hope Alaska’s governor understands the potential.

NGA calls the initiative “Delivering Results” and the recently concluded meeting held February 21-23, 2015 featured the initiative. I don’t have results yet but Governor Hickenlooper’s opening address is available by video here.

I am excited by the publicity Lean Government is receiving. If you have any influence with Governor Bill Walker of Alaska, let him know.

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