Continuous Improvement blogThe Power of a Conference: collaboration & networking

The 2018 Lean HE International Conference took place in the wonderful city of Tromsø, in northern Norway between 31 October and 2 November. Our host for the conference was UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, and what wonderful hosts they were. Full of passion and enthusiasm for Lean & Continuous Improvement.

There were around 150 delegates from across the world, with 15 countries and 43 universities represented. The quality and variety of the keynote speakers and workshops was excellent. In addition, the conference hosts had built in plenty of time during the day and evening to facilitate networking and discussions around existing and potential new collaborations. 

This didn’t feel so much like a conference, more like a community coming together to support, help, encourage and also challenge one another to be the best that we can possibly be, both individually and collectively. 

I left the conference feeling enthused, re-energised and motivated to apply the things that I had learned during the conference.  

When I attend a conference I generally try to identify a few things to take away. These for me are the vital or critical few. The idea behind it being that I will focus on a few things and do them really well as opposed to trying to do lots and lots of things less well or not at all. I then take these ideas back with me to the University of Strathclyde and try to implement them with my team, to help us improve what we do and how we do it. 

On this occasion however, because of the quality of the conference, my vital few list grew to 9 key takeaways. Maybe too many, but with the enthusiasm and motivation I have immediately after the conference, how can I possibly fail? 

Very easily actually. It is very easy to go back to work after a conference and become immersed in and consumed by what you’re doing on a day to day basis. In fact, I would suggest, for most of us anyway, that this is the norm. 

So let’s take up this challenge together. Use the contacts that you already have and the new ones that you have made during the conference, to help, support, encourage and challenge you to make that step change.  

Apply what you have learned. Implement new ways of doing things and then tell us how you got on. Celebrate your success.

Use the 2018 Lean HE conference in Tromsø as your inspiration. Use the 2019 Lean HE conference at the University of Michigan as your motivation. 

Continue to collaborate and network and let’s “Lean Forward - Connect. Inspire. Advance” together. 

Good luck and let me know how you get on.