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“Out of context, lean is pretty meaningless. It is only when we apply it to the work that it acquires substance. Yet, somehow we always struggle to find ways to make it real for students. The challenge for universities is to find clever ways to bring the Gemba to the classroom, and to take students from the classroom to Gemba. Having said that, it is also where the fun is!”

Peter Ward, Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University
Planet Lean

August 2016

The JPW Fund’s point of view on lean thinking is based on:

  • Thought leadership of Jim Womack, Dan Jones, John Shook and others (Mike Rother, Jeff Liker, Michael Balle, Art Byrne, etc.),   

  • A structured approach to organizational change -- The Lean Transformation Framework - see TransformationFramework ,

  • A philosophy of action-based learning at the Gemba focusing on how to teach, practice and coach to achieve a purpose,

  • Deep knowledge of the Toyota Production & Management Systems, and

  • A people development approach based on learning and improving their work via behaviors and management systems that reflect fundamental lean thinking & practice to solve problems and continually improve and innovate.

The JPW Fund is looking to partner with schools and other organizations wishing to improve education that:

  • Currently offer, or would like to offer, courses and curriculum on lean thinking aligned with the JPW Fund’s point of view,

  • Are willing to work with local, community-based social service organizations where students and faculty can practice lean thinking,

  • Are willing to document learning and results through articles, case studies, videos, thesis, etc., and

  • Will conduct scientifically sound research on lean thinking. 


If you are a school or organization dedicated to improving education and would like to learn more about how to participate in the JPW Fund learning experience, please contact us at .

Oakland University


Designed to benefit Oakland University students, schools, nonprofits, government and industry, the Pawley Lean Institute (PLI) shares concepts and practices of Lean thinking to create leaders and learners in the university, public and private sectors, and the community. 

The Lean learning concept incorporates tools, techniques and management philosophies to streamline processes and eliminate waste, while providing value from the customer's perspective.

For more information go to:

Oakland University 

Pawley Lean Institute

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