Lean HE Europe

Check here for information, news and publications from Lean HE Europe steering group. 
A number of regional groups have been established.
UK (London and south) join LONDON-LEANHE@jiscmail.ac.uk
Emerging networks:
Poland, Netherlands and scandinavia, drop me an email r.mcassey@sheffield.ac.uk

We will be running a series of free half day seminars during 2017.  Further information will be shared via the Linkedin Group and mailing lists.


We are currently shaping the Lean HE Europe Committee. Please do get in contact with Rachel McAssey (Chair) r.mcassey@sheffield.ac.uk if you would be interested in joining the committee. 

We are producing a business model canvas to give an overview of the work of the group.

The next steering committee meeting will be scheduled in early 2018.

Lean HE Europe - Annual Report

posted 16 Oct 2017, 00:27 by Rachel McAssey   [ updated 26 Oct 2017, 12:22 ]

The European Continental Division has been active this year and there’s a real sense of enthusiasm building as previously isolated practitioners are making contact.

There are two formally established regional groups within the UK, with approximately 80 people engaging in seminars and meetings, the network in Scotland continues to be active.

The European group has held two formal seminars to date, and are producing a paper on lean maturity within the sector.

We are focusing on developing active networks in Poland (two seminars have been held), Scandinavia – building up a network and the Netherlands.

Our challenge for next year is to continue to focus on the three emerging European networks and produce at least one further paper to benefit the lean HE community.

We are planning to have three seminars in three regionally accessible locations and to produce more articles that will be published via the Efficiency Exchange. We will also be supporting the 2018 conference that will be held in Europe. If you are from Europe, make sure you are a member of the LinkedIn Lean HE group and follow #LeanHEEurope on twitter for more details.

Lean HE UK Southern Regional Group


28 delegates from 13 different Universities attended the Southern network group meeting on October 4th. Hosted by Middlesex University, the day provided some valuable and informative networking together with two main agenda items for exploration.


The first session, Value for Money, was led by James Kennedy, CFO at Middlesex.   James fronted  a very informative discussion as delegates considered the role of continuous improvement and lean practitioners in contributing to the value for money agenda , conscious of both Hefce and individual institutions  expectations. James presented a provoking account of his expectations as a CFO, with a  clear focus on the need to measure contributing benefits in the context of the financial  environment the sector is working within.  The session was additionally contextualised by the Middlesex University approach to measuring benefits.


In contrast to this session the afternoon had a very different feel. Amy Bray, Director of Strategic Change at Christ Church Canterbury together with Judy Walker, Consultant, NEL Healthcare, led a session entitled  “After Action Review: enabling continuous improvement through reflection and learning”. Sharing this very useful tool which was  new to many and a refresher to others, was additionally beneficial from sharing experiences from outside the sector.  


Feedback from both sessions and the whole day was very  positive, bringing together both the hard benefits focused approach with the human side of change for practitioners.


The group will hold two further network sessions this year and a range of topics, offers of sharing tools and case studies have been gathered as well as host institutions. All in all a very positive and energising day.

Lean HE UK North and Midlands Regional Group

Nottingham University hosted a seminar on Coaching Kata in May and we are looking forward to Sheffield Hallam's seminar on Creating a CI Service later in the year.

The steering group was formed in January 2017 and we continue to go from strength to strength building a network with both formal seminars and informal support and sharing.

The second seminar about Lean Higher Education for Polish universities

posted 2 Oct 2017, 00:02 by Rachel McAssey

The second meeting about Lean Higher Education for Polish universities  was organized at 13 of September in the Institute of Public Affairs in the Jagiellonian University in Cracow (Kraków). Participants came from different cities in Poland Wrocław, Łódź, Bydgoszcz and Kraków.

Topics of our seminar included: SIPOC and SOP, Kanban and Kaizen in a university. We organized the trainings and workshops. The participant shared with their experiences about motivating academics and administration to continuous improvement. The next seminar is planned at February. 

Lean HE (Europe) Steering Group meeting - June 2017

posted 14 Sep 2017, 10:58 by Rachel McAssey

The Lean HE European Steering Group meeting in June hosted by Vincent Wiegel - from the University of Han NL

The Group  were inspired by Vincent to be very action focused and we spent the day working on key topics - using post-it notes and a democratic selection process to choose the topics we would focus on a selection of the topics as follows:-

Lean and HE in 2050 - BOTS/Smart machines/thin processes
Culture and Wellbeing
Lean Maturity - building a model for Higher Education
Lean in smaller organisations
Admin processes and management info.
Lean HE Games
Mental movement - Waste

We split into smaller groups to tackle a sub-set of these topics - for example one group selected Kindness and debated how kindness and lean are aligned.

The group debated how kindness and lean were good companions and narrowed down the focus to embedding kindness into workshop planning and creating a framework to support lean facilitation. This group are working on this and will be ready soon to publish an article.

We also split into smaller teams to come up with ideas to promote Lean in HE, including collaborating to write articles for Linkedin.

Good progress in being made and watch this space to see how we are getting on.

First seminar about Lean Higher Education for Polish universities

posted 18 Jul 2017, 03:50 by Rachel McAssey   [ updated 18 Jul 2017, 03:51 ]

By Justyna Maciąg, 
Department of Public Management
Institute of Public Affairs
Jagiellonian University in Kraków

First seminar about Lean Higher Education for Polish universities  was organized at 7 of July in the Institute of Public Affairs in the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. The main topics if this meeting was as follow: an introduction to Lean Management, how to use a VSM to simplify processes in university, especially in relation to reduction of bureaucracy (a workshop) and first steps and experiences in a bureaucracy reduction in Jagiellonian University.

Participants came from different cities in Poland – Wrocław, Warsaw, Łódź, Katowice and Cracow.

Thanks to a great engagement of participants the meeting has become a valuable, motivating and interesting experience for all audience. The next meeting is planned on September.


Meeting of the North and Midlands Regional Group 10 May 2017

posted 1 Jun 2017, 05:02 by Gretel Stonebridge   [ updated 27 Jun 2017, 06:27 by Steve Yorkstone ]

This was our first meeting after the set up meeting in January 2017. We are holding 2 meetings a year after which there will be a session hosted by an HEI to share knowledge, experience and practice.
This time we had a workshop on Improvement Kata and run by Mick Gash from University of Nottingham.  He demonstrated the principles through the power of learning through play.

I love cheese

First Lean HE (Europe) Meeting and seminar

posted 26 Mar 2017, 13:25 by Rachel McAssey

On 22 March we held the first Lean HE Europe Committee meeting. Many thanks to colleagues at Leeds Beckett University for hosting. The committee are keen to maintain a truly European focus, we welcome information and updates  from practitioners across Europe about their activities. We aim to host two more seminars this year - dates to be shared. 

In the afternoon, Leeds Beckett University hosted a seminar. It was well attended. We hope that a blog of the event will be on the Efficiency Exchange in due course.

UK North and Midlands Regional Group – JISC Mail list created

posted 14 Feb 2017, 05:37 by Gretel Stonebridge

We have created a JISC Mail list for the North of England and The Midlands. This is to enable easier group communications to include meeting notifications/events and also somewhere for any of us in this region to call out if we need any help or information.  If you want to join please click on this email address LEANHE-NORTHANDMIDLANDS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK.
Our next meeting will be on 10 May 2017 in Nottingham.  We will post details nearer the time.

UK(South) Regional Group - First meeting

posted 3 Feb 2017, 04:28 by Rachel McAssey

On Thursday 2 February 2017 the first UK(South) Regional Group met up at MiddlesexUniversity. There were 12 representatives from seven institutions. Over the two and a half hours there was tremendous energy in the room and lots of shared themes that people wanted the group to cover over the coming years. It was also wonderful to hear that the positive experience so many of the group had encountered at the Stirling conference in November 2016 still resonated with attendees, and that people were really keen to sustain the momentum.


The group agreed some formal roles were required and agreed a Chair (Natasha Bennett Middlesex University) and Co-Chair (Pat Simons, Queen Mary University ). However, everyone in the room was keen to put in some effort to support the activities of the Lean HE network. They already have a jiscmail list you can sign up for to LONDON-LEANHE@jiscmail.ac.uk

Meeting of the UK North and Midlands Regional Group

posted 17 Jan 2017, 01:18 by Rachel McAssey   [ updated 17 Jan 2017, 01:19 ]

Following on from the Lean HE Conference in 2016, there was a lot of interest in forming 

regional groups so 

that lean practitioners in higher education could carry sharing information about activities and good practice.

On Wednesday 11 January 2017, The University of Sheffield hosted a meeting for a group that will cover the North of England and The Midlands. Steve Harris from De Montfort University was voted in as chair, Mick Gash from The University of Notting

ham was voted in as secretary and Gretel Stonebridge (Leicester) and Caroline Doherty (York St Johns) are going to work together to support communications.

The meeting was energetic and full of enthusiasm for the support that this regional group can offer. The next meeting will be held in April/May, further information will be circulated via Linkedin and a jiscmail group will be set up and advertised.

Post conference syndrome. Thoughts upon arriving home after the LeanHE-conference 2016 in Stirling

posted 7 Nov 2016, 02:35 by Rachel McAssey   [ updated 7 Nov 2016, 07:46 ]

By Svein Are Tjeldnes, UiT Norges arktiske universitet/UiT The Arctic University of Norway

 When I was a youngster I played the drums and timpanis in both a wind band and an orchestra, and several times a year I would get to go on a trip with either one or both. For instance a one week tour from northerly Sortland to Sandefjord (which was really exotic since they had bats flying around) far south, or even longer tours to Italy (talk about exotic for a young Norwegian boy). Or going away on school camp with all your friends and schoolmates, and maybe even a girlfriend (or two).

 All of these travels had one thing in particular in common: to be together with your best friends and the coolest folks, around the clock for many days – and importantly enough: without ANY parents. However, as with all fairytales, suddenly the tour is over and you arrive home. I can still vividly remember the kind of empty feeling that landed on me as soon as the last goodbyes and hugs were done and the door to our house shut behind me.

 Today I am experiencing that same empty feeling. A kind of sorrow and mourning having left that lovely bubble of excitement, buzz, being with good old and new friends, learning and developing together with 170 fantastic lean practitioners at the Lean in Higher Education in Stirling. Can you relate? However, this is not all a bad thing. It simply means that we had a rock’n’roll badass great conference. I am proud to be a part of this particular community. 

 I count myself lucky to know Sue Jennings, Lorna Prince and the rest of the team at University of Stirling, who gave us this amazing conference at the most awesome venue. Including the fabulous dinner at Stirling Castle where I got to go through two first-timers: Wearing a real Kilt (Scotland’s National Tartan) and eating Haggis.

I also feel grateful to Steven Yorkstone, Susanne Clarke and the rest of the Global Lean HE steering committee for discovering me in Waterloo (last year), urging me to become a member of the committee. They are highly competent people, both as lean practitioners and as warm and welcoming persons. The same goes for rugged John Hogg (always going strong in every sense of the word), the lovely Rachel McAssey (chairing the European division with steady hands), smiling Valerie Runyan (taking on the task of next year’s conference in Sydney), energetic Mick Gash (always present with helping hands and thoughts), Pat Browne (ever offering own ideas), devious Mark Robinson (never short of comments), vibrant Vincent Wiegel (always strongly present), Marilyn Thompson (the happy Canadian) and Tammi Sinah (who never seems to run out of energy).

 It would be clearly impossible for me to mention every person I had the luck of meeting these important days in Stirling, but hey – I could go for a few. I absolutely loved talking with and learning from Sean Jackson of Virginia University. His session “Who’s ready for lean” was excellently delivered and thought provoking. I keep thinking that if we had applied some of his ideas and work on change readiness assessment, I know a couple of processes we never would have started at my university.

Most importantly, I have to point out my absolute favorite session among all the high quality contributions delivered at Stirling (A description of them all can be found in the program). Nicola Cairns and Heather Lawrence gave a fully packed room great insight in evidencing benefits and impact of change, even using lean teaching methods. I have declared myself their number one fan.

 This conference did also present new and a bit surprising friendships. I had the pleasure of getting to know and discussing lean with Birute Budreviciene, Sandra Kavalevskyte and Aidis Stukas from Kaunas University of Technology. This was their first LeanHE conference and I trust we will see them again as they were very eager to hold a seminar in Lithuania soon. Best of luck on further exploration of lean. I also, by coincidence, ran into Swedish Karolin Arvidsson from Middlesex University. Please follow through on your idea to bring the team over to Norway and UiT - The Arctic University of Norway for a visit. The same goes for Jose Franken from University of Twente, as we will connect to discuss the build-up of teams.

As the LeanHE conference also puts great weight on networking, it was especially gratifying to finally meet and put a face to many of the twitter-accounts I have been following for a while. For instance Stuart Morris from University of Lincoln. I trust we will be able to explore our collaboration and networking further as it will be easier after meeting in person.

 Eventually I want to thank all of my fellow” MacKenzie” clansmen and -women at our table during the castle dinner. You all made the dinner memorable, thus helping to create this Post Conference Syndrom write-up. Julia H. Sempler, Jeung Lee, Edvins Balodis, Tom Laws, Katrien Verhooge and Anne Wendt: We were a great even when discovering the vegetarian mix-up.

Then - at last but never the least, my team, friends and wonderful colleagues from UiT – the “concept group” responsible for driving change. Julia H. Sempler, Frank Lindrupsen, Karin Eilertsen, Grethe Karlsen and Kjersti Dahle: The five of you are the ones who are designated to help me get over this post conference syndrome, by relentlessly pushing forward with continuous improvement step by step, day by day.

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