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AI Practitioner Issue: November 2015

Call for Submissions

Working title:
Appreciative & Strengths-based Lean
Thinking: Positive engagement with
business improvement and efficiency.

David Shaked & Nicolas Stampf

Focus of the Issue:
Lean Thinking is a widely known and practised approach to driving efficiency and business
improvement. It is used by large & small businesses, by public-sector organisations and
increasingly by the not-for-profit sector.

Many of the principles and original thinking behind Lean Thinking have a positive focus.
However, most applications of Lean Thinking follow the classic deficit-focused approach to
problem-solving: understanding the existing efficiency problems in detail, finding root causes for
the gaps and fixing them. It is based on an assumption that there is a theoretical perfect state
for each organizational process and that the current state deviates from the perfect state due to
inefficiencies and waste.

For several years we have been taking a different approach and have been exploring the
question: Can Lean practice and thinking be merged with Appreciative Inquiry principles, thinking
and practice with its clear strength-focused approach to problem solving? Our experience has
shown us that it certainly can and that in doing so, our results exceed the expectations and
motivation for improvement is increased.

Possible Topics & Guiding Questions
In this edition, we would like to explore, learn with the community and further expand the
knowledge about how Appreciative Inquiry can be combined with Lean Thinking in practice. We
would like to find out what ways, tools, processes and new thinking is available and has been
tried around the world with this unique combination.

We would like to hear from external consultants, internal Lean change agents and researchers
working in the area. We would also love to gather stories from all sectors and from around the

Your article should highlight as much of the following as possible:
What was the situation or challenge?
What inspired you to consider the combination of Lean and AI?
What Lean and/or AI knowledge and experience already existed within the system you
worked with and how was it built upon? What additional training or learning was taken?
How did you and others in the system combine Lean Thinking processes, tools and
principles with AI (please provide specific examples and graphics where possible)? What
compelled you to combine the approaches rather than pursue one of them?
What challenges did you overcome? What results and impact were observable at the
various levels such as staff, leadership, customers, suppliers, shareholders and beyond?
Were there any aha moments throughout the process?
In what ways did the use of AI help achieve the Lean objectives?
What surprised or delighted you and others about the combined approach?
What were the lessons learned? What would you do differently next time?

How to contribute:
We invite you to send a proposal (300 words maximum) by November 30
, 2014 for the
November 2015 issue of AI Practitioner to David Shaked at:

Final articles, stories, case studies, reflections, research, models and theory can range from 800
to a maximum of 2000 words. Art, charts and diagrams should be high resolution, publication

David Shaked is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He has trained several Lean and
Six Sigma workshops and mentored Green and Black Belts. He is also an Appreciative Inquiry
certified trainer and practitioner by NTL and a full member of NTL. David has trained NTLs
introductory and advanced AI workshops in the US and Europe.

David has developed a unique approach to business process improvement combining Strength-
based approaches to change with proven analytical and delivery tools such as Lean Thinking
and Six Sigma. As part of this he wrote the book Strength-based Lean Six Sigma. David has led
and facilitated strategic planning processes with several organizations using both traditional as
well as strengths-based approaches.

David established Almond Insight ( in 2008 and has worked with
companies and organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, the UKs NHS, Howard Tenens, Lyle
& Scott, Carmignac-Gestion, Shelter, Southern Rail, GSK, Boehringer Ingelheim, UK Defence
Academy, Kent County Council, Utrecht Council and the College of the North Atlantic - Qatar.
+44 20 8994 2720

Nicolas Stampf is an internal Lean coach. He is trained in AI foundations and practices various
facilitation techniques, all with a strengths-based approach. Deeply connected to the Respect
for People aspect of Lean, his personal endeavour has been to find ways to overcome the so
called change resistance most often experienced and reported in Lean. He writes about this in
a forthcoming book on Respectful Change Management practices at

In his research for change appreciation Nicolas has co-developed the Labso, a new workshop
format aimed at experientially teaching participants how to discover, leverage and amplify their
strengths through the use of social networks. Inspired by fablabs and targeted at social
construction, its ambition is to be a collective intelligence catalyst (
+33 6 149 88 620

Background information about AI Practitioner (

The AI Practitioner is designed to highlight examples, case studies and research on strengths-based
approaches to change with special emphasis on Appreciative Inquiry.

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Practitioner issue. They select, edit and review the content and intent of the final articles from their
perspective as major contributors in their specialist fields.

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