Learning to learn

A while ago – 2 years 3 months to be exact – I wrote that LEAN is a valid tool to enhance efficiency. “Try and learn”, I wrote. The learning thing is an interesting one. Once you have chosen an ism and decided that this is the one that will make your ways of working better, it will get you only so far. Doesn’t matter what philosophy you decide to follow. No matter how strictly you follow the path.

Visiting construction site a week before the surface materials are ready is a puzzling experience. All your instincts tell you the schedule is a lost case. There is no way this site is going to be ready in, at least, several weeks’ time. Coming back a bit later and you are thunderstruck to find out everything is in order.

Recognizing things that haven’t gone as planned is relatively easy. But to learn from it seems to be almost impossible for a homo sapiens. It seems obvious that we are wired to solve incoming issues as fast as possible and move on to the next disappointment. It is next to impossible to stop and analyze the cause without a proper mechanism to make us stop. How can we recognize that we are actually doing the digging to find what lies behind a mishap? We can easily fool ourselves by using the correct tools to find the root cause and still using our mind’s fast lane which tells that the first idea coming in is the only possible one. No matter whether it actually is related to the issue we are handling at all. Often the sign that shows we are finding something real is that we are seemingly nowhere near to find an answer. The real solution is visible only after we wrap up all the logic – all the whys if you prefer – and sum it up. Everything before that is framework to the finished surface; to the solution deep down that will remove the problem hidden in our practices.

Merima has succeeded to get some remarkable people to our midst. Not only employees that have experience about how to realize continuous improvement, but also personnel that are excited about LEAN methods and tools. Sometimes in the same package. Those people are the spice that make the rest of us to learn how to learn. The good thing is that once a critical mass of us have entered that path, there is no return. We can’t imagine why we haven’t acted like this from the beginning. For that I am sure of.

Mr. Janne Vesa, Development director