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Lean in HE

4 September 2019

Woman presenting at podium
Sarhah Lethbridge has worked on numerous lean projects in hospitals, universities and public and private services.

An expert in lean tools and techniques from Cardiff Business School has contributed to a new book on lean in higher education (HE).

The text, entitled Global Lean for Higher Education: A Themed Anthology of Case Studies, Approaches and Tools, brings together over 30 authors from around the world to showcase best practice in improvement methodologies in the HE sector.

In her chapter, Sarah Lethbridge, Director of Executive Education at Cardiff Business School, focuses on the evolution of the lean approach taken within the first UK University to adopt the methodology.

Ms Lethbridge, formerly a Senior Research Associate in the Lean Enterprise Research Centre, reflects upon the practical lessons learned from the Centre’s mission to ‘research, apply and communicate lean thinking’ and poses the question, ‘Cardiff University: A Lean University or a Better University?’

Ms Lethbridge said: “We’re living in challenging political and economic times and the university sector is under immense pressure, financially and ideologically. The need for programmes of transformation is obvious.

“So, it was great to be able to reflect on our experience of Lean University given that we’re embarking on another period of change…”

“My hope is that by sharing the lessons of what we’ve learned, it’ll help not only my institution but others, in this unique time of uncertainty and change.”

Sarah Lethbridge Pro Dean of External Engagement

Edited by Steve Yorkstone, Business Improvement Consultant at Edinburgh Napier University, the collection focuses on lean applied across universities as a whole, addressing the administrative support or professional services side of how these institutions work.

It aims to demonstrate the diverse applications of lean in universities inspiring others to deeply engage with lean thinking in their own unique context and to drive successful, sustainable, lean work.

Mr Yorkstone said: “The book is written for people looking to improve how universities work with themes of Starting out, People, Projects, Technology, Sustaining Lean and Culture…”

“With contributions from colleagues at both research intensive and applied universities, from less than 50 years old to over 800 years old, it goes to show that we're taking a leading role in building an efficient and effective HE sector for all.”

Steve Yorkstone Business Improvement Consultant at Edinburgh Napier University

You can find out more about the book and buy or rent it in hardback and ebook formats on Routledge’s website.

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