February 29, 2024

Price: $249.95 + tax per person - Group discount (5+ people): $225.00 + tax per person

Featured speakers

Jacob Stoller, Author "The Lean CEO"

Myths and Realities about Productivity

Renee Smith, Founder, CEO, A Human Workplace

Your Human Workplace: Advancing Lean in Government with a Human-Centered Culture

Dr. Alan G. Robinson, Author "Practical Innovation in Government"

Practical Innovation in Government - How Front-line Leaders are Transforming Public Sector Organizations

The Lean Government Summit is an international forum for public service leaders and change agents to exchange learning and best practices to increase the positive impact of Lean on the work of government and the broader Public Sector.

This 12th edition of the Summit is a virtual event using Microsoft Teams. Breakout activities have been planned to allow participants to spend time together to compare notes and provide chances to build a network of fellow Lean practitioners.  


  • Keep current on the latest thinking from Lean, Agile/Scrum and Service Design in government to deliver knowledge and service work better.
  • Cultivate a community of Lean government improvement professionals to share knowledge and experience to help each other improve how we improve for citizens.

Public servants only please.


Lean Agility

Telfer Executive Programs Logo

AGENDA (All times Eastern Standard Time (ET: UTC/GMT -5)

8:30 - 9:25

Practical Innovation in Government - How Front-line Leaders are Transforming Public Sector Organizations

Dr. Alan G. Robinson, Author "Practical Innovation in Government"

This talk is based on Alan’s most recent book, "Practical Innovation in Government", which is the largest study of operational excellence in government in almost three decades. 

In their six-year, five-country study of 77 government organizations—ranging from small departments to entire states—he and Dean Schroeder found that the predominant private-sector approaches to improvement don’t work well in the public sector, while practices that are rare in the private sector prove highly effective. The highest performers they studied had attained levels of efficiency that rivalled the best private-sector companies anywhere.

Rather than management making the improvements, as is the norm in the private sector, these high-performers focused on front-line-driven improvement, where most of the change activity was led by supervisors and low-level managers who unleashed the creativity and ideas of their employees to improve their operations bit by bit every day.

Dr. Alan G. Robinson is an award-winning author, educator, researcher, and consultant. He is the co-author of twelve books, which have been translated into more than 25 languages. He has advised more than 300 organizations in 30 countries. Some of his more well-known clients include the Federal Reserve Bank, the Government of Singapore, the U.S. Navy, the Department of Energy, the Veterans Administration, the Bureau of Land Management, Aon Hewitt, Liberty Mutual, IKEA, Kraft, the Cleveland Clinic, UBS, the Washington Post, and Allianz.

9:30 - 10:25
(concurrent session)

Session 1: Unveiling Your Unseen Influence: The Human Side of Leadership

Elisabeth Swan, Author "Picture Yourself a Leader"

From her decades of experience and through tapping the wisdom of her peers for her latest book, Picture Yourself a Leader: Illustrated Micro-Lessons for Navigating Change, Elisabeth Swan highlights the hidden factors that can help public servants lead change and positively impact those around them regardless of title or position.

Our true challenges exist in the humanity underlying our efforts. We’re flawed human beings trying to be our best selves. We may follow the right steps and still see our efforts fall short. Elisabeth will demonstrate a selection of powerful ways to perfect the people-centric hurdles we all face while navigating and influencing change.

Recently named by the PEX Network as one of the top 50 thought leaders in operational excellence for 2023, Elisabeth Swan has been a lynchpin in the business process performance industry for over 30 years. She guides private and public organizations through Lean Transformations and improvement efforts generating millions in savings.  She is the Co-Designer and Lead Instructor for the Lean Six Sigma Leadership Course at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and she designs and runs Lean Six Sigma courses at UC Davis and the University of Denver. She is a co-founder of the Just-in-Time Café learning nexus, and Co-Host of the “Just-in-Time Café” podcast.

Session 2: "Pretty Good" not "Perfect" Data

Chris Irwin, Senior Consultant, Lean Agility Inc.

Data is critical to measure improvement and get insights into problems. The big challenge is not that organizations don’t have data – they do!  In fact we are awash in more data than any other time in history – but the problem can be that we don’t have the right kind of data.  What you likely have is ‘Data for the purpose of Inspection’.  To improve, what we need is ‘Data for the purpose of Learning’.  In this talk, Chris will share how to find and use “data for learning” and address the following challenges and opportunities:

  • Counteract data gathering paralysis by using “Pretty Good Data” instead of seeking perfect data.
  • Find more opportunities to insert data into presentations, business cases, and proof of concept.
  • The power of blanks – How to leverage discomfort with blanks
  • Probabilistic thinking – How to pull data from peoples’ heads
  • Anchoring anecdotes – how to validate anecdotes by anchoring them in data.

Prior to joining Lean Agility Chris was a director in the Lean Office of the Cabinet Office of the Province of Ontario, providing Lean training and project facilitation to the entire provincial public service. In his time in this role, he co-led the province to become one of the leading North American jurisdictions in Lean process improvement.

10:30 - 11:25
(concurrent session)

Session 1: Myths and Realities about Productivity

Jacob Stoller, Author "The Lean CEO"

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Sounds reasonable, right? Wrong!  This out-of-context quote from W. Edwards Deming is one of five productivity-killing myths that Jacob will explore in his talk. Learn how myth-based barriers stifle innovation, demotivate employees, and isolate leaders from the productive forces in their organizations. The session will include case examples from Jacob’s upcoming book Productivity Reimagined and will close with humorous tales of misguided organizations shooting themselves in the foot. 

Jacob Stoller is a speaker, journalist, and the Shingo Prize-winning author of The Lean CEO. A frequent commentator in the business press, Jacob has delivered a variety of learning events in Canada and the US, and authored reports, training materials, and other corporate documents for clients such as Microsoft, Dell Computer, Staples, Pitney Bowes, International Data Corporation (IDC), CMA Canada, and the Conference Board of Canada.

Session 2: Getting Lean Projects Done

Alain L'Abbé, Senior Consultant, Lean Agility Inc. 

This talk is based on Alain’s experience with the principles of Lean and Agile/Scrum as well as his own research and experimentation as a top-performing facilitator and Lean change agent. Learn how to create greater impact faster and avoid the Cost of Hesitation that kills so many projects.  Also, learn about how to assess the change readiness of your stakeholders and create great momentum that can be channeled into faster, breakthrough results and sustained Lean mindsets.

Alain is a Lean government and transformation change agent and teacher/mentor. He is also an accomplished and strategic senior Project Management Change Manager with over 25 years diverse (military, public service and consultant) work experience and a broad educational background.  He has developed cutting-edge and highly effective approaches to creating and sustaining Lean change in a government setting.

11:30 - 11:55
(concurrent session) 

Session 1: The Three Diets of Execution to get things done

Timothy Francis, Senior Consultant, Lean Agility Inc.

In this brief talk, Tim will share his insights into the three diets of project execution and the pro’s and con’s of each diet so that you can make informed choices about how you schedule your improvement initiatives to maximize your chances of success.

Session 2: Alternatives to PowerPoint

Chris Irwin, Senior Consultant, Lean Agility Inc.

In this brief talk, Chris will share how the rampant and ubiquitous use of PowerPoint creates waste, as well as solutions and alternatives to overcome it.  He will demonstrate several alternatives using his own talk as an example.

12:30 - 13:25
(concurrent session)

Session 1: The Results Washington Journey

Rachel Murata – Senior Performance and Project Manager
John Cooper – Senior Performance and Project Manager
Lisa van der Lugt  - Executive Strategic Performance Advisor

Results Washington, reporting to the Governor's Office, has led one of the most impactful jurisdiction-wide Lean and efficiency transformations in North America.  In this talk, Rachel, John and Lisa will share what they learned along the way so that participants can benefit from their experience to accelerate their own transformations.

Rachel is a Senior Performance and Project Manager who has spent the last year engaging with cabinet agencies and leaders from other states to identify best practices, current needs and capabilities, and a new path forward for performance management at the enterprise level in Washington State.  John is a Senior Performance and Project Manager who leads projects to advance performance management and continuous improvement throughout Washington State government.   Lisa van der Lugt is responsible for the oversight of the Senior Performance Advisors. She brings over 30 years of experience in chief executive roles in the public and private sectors.

Session 2: Panel - Lean & AI

Timothy Francis - Senior Consultant, Lean Agility Inc.
Ken Eakin - Senior Consultant, Lean Agility Inc.
Chris Irwin - Senior Consultant, Lean Agility Inc.
Mark Jarvis - a/Manager, Personnel Systems and Analytics, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Our panelists will explore their experiences and research on the opportunities that AI presents to Lean practitioners, specific use cases where current-generation easily available AI tools can best create breakthrough levels of process flow and even individual productivity.

13:30 - 14:25
(concurrent session)

Session 1: Your Human Workplace: Advancing Lean in Government with a Human-Centered Culture

Renee Smith, Founder and CEO, A Human Workplace

What does it take to create a government workplace where customers are satisfied, and employees can truly thrive? It takes a commitment to the heart of the Human Workplace Framework, which is a human-centered culture. In this talk, learn why it is essential to put people at the heart of your organization and how to do that each day. Learn the origins and application of the Framework, and how creating a more human workplace can help teams deliver greater value to citizens in every jurisdiction. Bringing together behavioral science, Lean practice, and executive leadership experience, Renée’s research and message open a bold new pathway for continuous improvement culture and effective workplaces with happy, loyal employees. Learn the five things to avoid and the three things to uphold to create a people-centric way of working and understand the role of accountability too. Come away inspired and ready to activate your human workplace for the good of all.

Renée (she/her) is the founder and CEO of A Human Workplace (AHW) and co-founder of the Center for a Loving Workplace. AHW is a leadership and culture consultancy with 28 affiliated practitioners in the US and the UK who guide clients to make work more human. Their work is founded on Renée’s primary research, extensive thought leadership, and years of practice. Renée served in the Governor’s Office as Director of Workplace Transformation for the State of Washington and led award-winning Lean culture change work for the Department of Enterprise Services. Smith has spoken to hundreds of audiences in ten countries, hosts the To Work: With Love podcast series on the Gut + Science podcast, is a prolific blogger, published in academic journals and trade publications, and has appeared on numerous podcasts effectively making the business case for a more human way of working.

Session 2: Streamlining Development Permit approvals in Burlington Ontario

Jeanette Bax, Manager, Business Development, City of Burlington

Alain L'Abbé, Senior Consultant, Lean Agility Inc.

In this talk, Jeanette and Alain will share the story of how they collaborated with leaders and staff of the City of Burlington to reduce the time to deliver a development permit from an average of 24 weeks to just 5.5 weeks, with 30% of the files, including complex files, being processed in two weeks or less. Further, the team continues to improve and streamline the process through regular continuous improvement routines and systems.

A key priority of the government of Ontario to address a housing shortage in the province of Ontario is to reduce the time to get new housing built.  As part of this initiative, this fast-growing city undertook a Lean improvement project.  This talk covers the key tactics that enabled the project to become so successful, so quickly, a handful of challenges and solutions, and tips that a Lean change agent can use to apply these learnings to their own practice.

Jeanette is a Lean Six Sigma practitioner who supports the improvement of the citizen experience at the City of Burlington. Previously she was a corporate continuous improvement specialist at the City, and previously performed a similar role with Niagara Region. She holds an Executive MBA from the University of Fredericton and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Alain is a Lean government and transformation change agent and teacher/mentor. He is also an accomplished and strategic senior Project Management Change Manager with over 25 years diverse (military, public service and consultant) work experience and a broad educational background.  He has developed cutting-edge and highly effective approaches to creating and sustaining Lean change in a government setting.

14:30 - 15:25

Lean Clinics

Meet and collaborate with experts and peers in these smaller interactive breakout sessions to address the following challenges: 

Clinic 1: Engaging and sustaining engagement of senior executives (Facilitator: Craig Szelestowski)

Clinic 2: Lean Project Execution (Facilitator: Alain L’Abbé) 

Clinic 3: Lean in Corporate Services (Facilitator: Timothy Francis)

Clinic 4: How to engage staff in Lean transformations (Facilitator: Chris Irwin)

Clinic 5: Creativity — An Essential Skill in the Pursuit of Excellence (Facilitator: Ruth Stanley)

15:30 - 16:25

The “Tax” We Pay on Slow Work and What to do About it

Craig Szelestowski, President & Founder, Lean Agility Inc. 

What happens to slow-moving work that almost never happens to work that is completed quickly through focused, uninterrupted time? It almost always gets even slower. Why?  Data doesn’t age like a fine Bordeaux wine as it sits and waits – instead it becomes stale and must be refreshed.  Further, priorities can be overtaken by events and abandoned – or worse don’t get abandoned, wasting resources. Scope can creep. Leaders and team members can change. We lose momentum and hire a change management consultant to re-generate interest.  Finally, the longer a file takes to complete, the more effort we spend on status reporting, tracking and other low-value work. In this talk, Craig will unpack the expensive ”tax” that we pay on slow-moving work, and some proven ideas on how to avoid it.

Craig is a thought leader in applying Lean to the work of government. As a public sector executive leading the Royal Canadian Mint’s Lean turnaround, he helped it move from precarious financial losses to profitability, and poor morale to being the first public sector organization in Canada being named to Top Canadian Employers lists  He is currently writing two books, one on applying Lean/Agile thinking to processes that create, review and approve documents, and another on streamlining processes before digitizing. He leads the development and delivery of Lean programs at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer Centre for Executive Leadership.