We had a lean 2014 start up

Lean start up cycle

Image: How to apply lean start up principles

Not going to have a discussion about whether lean start ups are a method or not or whether there are faults in the process or not. We had the best lean start up at school this year and it was because of astute use of technology. For this reason it is worth looking at why it was a successful lean start up. I am still of the opinion that as teachers we need a day just to be there after the long summer break. A day to meet and greet, to go to our spaces and think about whatever it is we need to think about to get the year going and get our heads out of long summer holiday mode. Eric Ries is the creator of the lean start up concept because often people get started on something (and lean start ups are basically about production) and they end up with something no-one wants. If you apply lean start up to a school year then at the start the build-measure-learn cycle needs to be clean and clear and as effectively implemented as possible. It is about creating something the teachers will want and then they in turn will create something the students will want. The principles are outlined here and critical to a good lean start up at school is the capacity to create validated learning for the teachers who will then promote and encapsulate the sustainability of the ideas throughout the year. One of the criticisms of a lean start up is that it is not a method and so the process needs a method. We had that additional layer of reinforcement for our thinking and preparation because we had a well prepared document on which to pin our thinking, we have the TeFL and we have our performance standards from Aitsl. Those 3 things complemented the start up process. One of the other criticisms is that you will simply respond to feedback and therefore put yourself at risk of unbuilding something which you are taking the courage to build. The beginning of the school year is like that. You don’t want to totally rely on feedback when you have a whole year of discovery ahead of you. It would stop you in your tracks . You need to be clear about your beliefs and goals . Your vision.

We had enthusiastic, cheerful, positive presentations to start each day. The presentations were both visual and spoken so we had our senses and our sense involved. The presentations celebrated our achievements or focussed our thoughts on process and we were given clear messages about our direction and were shown how our past would influence our future. These presentations were inspirational rather than prescriptive but they were shown to be based on who we are, what we can achieve and how we can achieve .  We worked in specific groups where these ideas were explored and built upon and where we could contribute to furthering the thinking. Some of that relied on sharing our ideas with our laptops and iPads. Critical information was emailed to us so we had that information at our fingertips and in front of us . Our LMS has been updated so we can easily direct message each other and our students and there are some other customisations to suit our school so that gave us another avenue of communication and another possibility of seeing the LMS as an asset in 2014. We did not have a deluge of paper and screeds of information to read. Technology was used to provide us with that information in multiple modes and so it was more interesting and direct and the uptake of the information was quicker. Our conversations became focussed. When we had our planning time we then had clear things to work on and we grew that by sharing links, websites, apps, emails, images, graphics, videos, resources. Our planning became super productive and those who didn’t know could easily focus questions and the answers were quickly supplied. We had such a good sharing of vision, resources, ideas and planning in such a short time we accomplished a really strong start up for this year. We had already mastered the art of effective communication. In a big school, networking is crucial to keeping everything and everyone on track and that ease of communication was breeding enthusiasm. When we see the students next week, we’ll be ready like never before!


5 Responses

  1. Cathy- this is a gorgeous post and creative too. I love the ideas of extending the lean concept to teaching. Yes, it is applicable. After all, schools produce generations that shape their and our future. A very needed post and is timely.


    • Hadn’t thought of it that way, that an efficient start up in a school can lead to a confident, competent generation. I think the walls and barriers need to come down between industries and we should look at how we can transfer our ideas. We are no longer in category boxes and sharing will make us stronger.


  2. Cathy- your thoughts are great, but still mine are valid/ That adds to the weight of this post.


    • Your thoughts are more than valid because they put everything I said in a more profound light. If we efficieintly get through the start up loop as a school it does mean, as you say, our capacity to influence the next generation in a good way and allow them to be confident and competent is even better. I had been looking at how we had got into a lean start up and how much better that was in terms of positive impact. Reading our start up from that perspective made me understand why we had such an almightly lift off this year and the role technology played was central to it. You looked at it in a broader sense to show how critical a lean start up could be and is!


  3. […] in our office or in the staff room over recess and lunch. I think it is the direct result of the lean start up we had at school this year and then aitsl got on the ball pretty quickly by bringing us thoughtful […]


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