New book charts University’s drive for continuous improvement

Volume examines lean strategies in higher education across the world

Date posted

5 August 2019

10:41

Edinburgh Napier’s Business Improvement journey comes under the spotlight in a new book which examines best practice in higher education.

Cover of the Steve Yorkstone-edited book, Global Lean for Higher Education

Global Lean for Higher Education: A Themed Anthology of Case Studies, Approaches, and Tools, published this week, is edited by university Business Improvement Consultant Steve Yorkstone.

The volume brings together more than 30 authors from across the world, with Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Poland, the UK and the USA among the countries represented.

With themes of Starting Out, People, Projects, Technology, Sustaining Lean, and Culture, the book is written for people looking to improve how universities work.

Portrait of Steve Yorkstone

Business processes are analysed at both research-focused and applied teaching universities, from under 50 to more than 800 years old, with the focus on “lean” strategies for applying continuous improvement with respect for people. The book discusses how higher education institutions have taken lean forward and the lessons others can learn from.

Steve said: "Editing this book has been almost a two-year journey, and it's great to see how many people in universities are helping make things better for their students, colleagues, and communities.

“It's taught me that, like how we teach our students I think, making connections with other people and bringing stories together can have a real impact. Oh, and editing a book takes much more effort than you might think at first!”

Edinburgh Napier’s role in building an efficient and effective sector is part of the discussion, with Steve co-authoring a chapter with Brent Hurley of the Strategy Hub about our own experiences.

The page in the Steve Yorkstone-edited book on lean theory which introduces the chapter on Edinburgh Napier

Brent and Steve's chapter includes familiar references to tools like the Student Journey Map and initiatives such as the Big Brown Bag Lunch, an informal monthly opportunity for staff to network, share experiences and learn something new.

Steve concedes that changing organisational culture and upskilling staff to deliver measurable improvements will take long-term commitment, and shifting to a culture of continuous improvement will not happen overnight.