‘Leveraging your institution’s support’ – the October CoP Event

It was excellent to hear the challenges and solutions from people with first hand experience of the process

— Helen Guerin, IT Services

By Michael Sinnott, Director of Agile

How do you leverage the support and encouragement UCD provides when you are looking to make the changes you see would be helpful in your area?

On 23 October ninety of us from across the campus had the pleasure of hosting John Maxwell, of the NTMA, and Sean Paul Teeling, of the UCD School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Mater Lean Academy, to talk about how the NTMA and Mater Hospital approach the “wouldn’t it be better if…” agenda.

John Maxwell

What support and encouragement are we thinking about? UCD Agile, Work Smarter Together, the use of Lean, the Communities of Practice, initiatives, an emerging common mind-set… these are all recent developments aimed at building skills, providing supports, and creating a more supportive environment for those who want to make changes and improvements.

The aim of the October session was to use the similarities and contrasts of the two stories to find a little inspiration and insight, perhaps triggering some new ideas.

Sean Paul Teeling

The Mater stories were quite dramatic – reducing the ‘door to needle’ time for stroke admissions from 80 minutes to 45 minutes was almost shocking. Sean Paul used a great quote when it comes to thinking about addressing issues –

“94% of problems are caused by the system and 6% by the individual”

Making things better is not about blaming the person but fixing the system. He placed a lot of emphasis on multi-disciplinary teams. It turned out that 20 of the 35 minutes saved on the ‘door to needle’ project (http://www.leanacademy.nmhs.ucd.ie/door_to_needle.html) were saved not by consultants, lab people, nurses or doctors but by a front of house administrator who had a moment of insight.

The NTMA stories revolved around billions of Euro and bringing change, much like in UCD, where there is no ‘burning platform’, no immediate crisis. John focused more on how he has been building a ‘continuous improvement’ journey in the NTMA, looking to be an ‘adaptive organisation’, streamlining and simplifying, building on innovation, placing a large focus on helping their people reach their potential, seeking this as ‘a journey with every employee, thinking about process, every day, of every year’. John’s slide capture this… though they miss the warmth and humour of his anecdotes!

Links to their two presentations – well worth checking out 

There was a lot of very positive feedback on the day – the talks were rich, the speakers interesting, and the contrast between the two stimulating.

However there was also some interesting criticism in the post-session survey – that we did not get to see how individuals themselves could leverage their institution’s support. That’s fair comment – both Sean Paul and John are ‘top down’ folks, running programmes on behalf of their respective institutions, and so largely spoke of it from this point of view. Sean Paul lists 18 case studies at the end of his slides which cover projects of many scales and kinds. The Mater has mechanisms for staff to bring project proposals forward to get included in their broader programme of work. The NTMA has an ideas register which captures the good thinking of individuals and groups and looks to put some of them into effect. We have not put such mechanisms into place here in UCD yet. Why not? At the moment such mechanisms would be answers to questions the institution does not yet have! This is food for thought but is not a short route to a simple solution.

If you want to talk thought an idea or a problem you want to fix or a group you want to support or a project you would like to get going or… or anything in this space, contact Michael, Olga or Nuria at UCD Agile and we can talk with your or connect you with those best set to help you. The only up-front cost for you is the willingness to drink tea or coffee for 30 minutes while you talk to us about your idea.

Positive Feedback from the Day

‘Just a quick note to say that I enjoyed yesterday’s speakers and their comments. John Maxwell’s comments on creating the environment for people to reach their potential through self-leadership, collaboration and learning was well put. Jean-Paul’s outline of using lean for process improvement was interesting’ Browyn Molony, UCD Qality Office

‘Really interesting and thought provoking. Both speakers very good and Sean Paul Teeling from Health was excellent.  Very inspiring’ Karen Jackman, UCD School of English, Drama and Film

‘Exceptionally helpful to hear testimonials’ Rosemary Deevy, UCD School of Computer Science

‘It was excellent to hear the challenges and solutions from people with first hand experience of the process’ Helen Guerin, IT Services


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