The Lean City

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What if government services could both improve their efficiency, reduce wasted effort and more consistently deliver services? Government, like almost any organization, can greatly benefit from a “Lean” philosophy towards services and thereby create the Lean City.

The role of government is to serve the citizens, that is just civics 101. The Lean City actively attempts to surface those services that add value to the citizens and eliminate everything else (i.e. removing those things that are not adding value to citizens).

The Lean methodology comes from the manufacturing industry in which Toyota and their unique tilt towards manufacturing unlocked enormous efficiencies in their processes by following a core set of principles as they approached delivery.

In no way should this be construed as either a big or a small government approach. That is exactly the wrong way to think about Lean. Instead we should encourage government to adopt a flexible and iterative approach to services that allows them to test hypotheses and adapt to changing conditions.

All while relentlessly focusing on what benefits citizens. If government is a form of manufacturing in which tax dollars go in and public goods and services come out then we can adopt the same Lean philosophy to provide better government.

Do you know any cities that are today embracing a Lean City methodology?


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