Powerful as Lean is; it does not work in isolation. It is part of a larger economic reality which must be equally understood. Some excellent books I've read which put Lean into perspective are...
|Long Tail, The, Revised and Updated Edition: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson is really about the economics of abundance and a framework for an entirely new business model. What happens when everything in the world becomes available to everyone?|
|Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex (and How Complex Things Can Be Made Simple) by Jeffery Kluger forces the reader to re-think the rules of business. Often things that seem complicated can be astoundingly simple, while simple things can be complex. Why are cell phone instruction manuals so incomprehensible? In the Lean world, moving material is simple logistics; kan ban is a simple manifestation of those logistics, while ERP systems are complex examples of the same logistics.|
|The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb is an eye- opening statement on how the "black swan" shapes our environment, including our marketplace and business world. The Black Swan is a highly improbable event with three principle characteristics: it is unpredictable, it caries a massive impact, and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random and more predictable than it was.|
|Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely may change the way we make our managerial decisions. When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we are in control, and in business we think we are making smart rational decisions. But are we? This book will challenge and in fact refute the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways.|
Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage - Roger Martin Martin has concisely articulated the why the redesign of our business processes from rigid and reliable to flexible and experimental is imperative if organizations are able to innovate and adapt.
Lean flourishes in a creative environment which is why you might want to read some of Edward de Bono's books. I would highly recommend...
|Teach Yourself How To Think by Edward de Bono. De Bono is the leading authority on creative thinking and has written over 50 books on the subject, including one we are most familiar with - Six Thinking Hats. When reading his books, he jolts our minds and leads us to new places. In this book, he demonstrates simple, effective and everyday techniques we can use to liberate our creative minds. It is a solid application of Lateral Thinking.|
|Serious Creativity: Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideas by Edward de Bono provides an impossibly simple and powerful formula for "thinking". Instead of the usual confusion of thinking, there are clear steps or stages:
Lean is not new. Its interesting history dates back to the 1950's financial crisis. And as today's economy proves, history repeats itself. For these reasons, and more, I highly recommend reading history as a means of understanding past, current and future events...
|The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. Apart from the compelling imagery in The Prince, (the prudent man is like an archer, colonies are keys to an open country, evil brews, etc.), it is the fact that he is so at odds with the orthodoxy of his time that is the real thrill of this Classic. For the reader, trying to apply Lean to a traditional organization, this book offers some thoughtful insights 496 years later...
"...there is nothing more difficult and dangerous, or more doubtful of success than an attempt to introduce any new order of things.For the innovator has for his enemies all those who derived advantages from the old order.while those who expected to be benefitted by the new institutions will be but lukewarm defenders. This indifference arises in part from fear of the adversaries who were favoured by the existing laws, and partly from the incredulity of men who have no faith in anything new that is not the result of well established experience."