Alan Robinson

Professor & Award Winning Author, UMass Amherst

r. Alan G. Robinson, the co-author of six books translated into more than 20 languages, helps companies produce more and better results. His specialties include lean production, managing continuous improvement, creativity, ideas and innovation. He has advised more than 200 companies, including GE, Lucent Technologies, IKEA and Kraft. Corporate Creativity, co-authored with Sam Stern, was named “Book of the Year” by the Academy of Human Resource Management. His book Ideas Are Free, co-authored with Dean Schroeder, was based on a global study of more than 150 organizations in 17 countries. The book, featured on ABC World News and CNN Headline News, was named Reader’s Choice by Fast Company magazine and one of the 30 best business books of 2004 by Soundview Executive Books.

Alan is speaking at

Keynote Presentation
October 24, 2019
8:30 am - 9:30 am
Ballroom A


  • Alan Robinson (Keynote Presenter) Professor & Award Winning Author, UMass Amherst


Why isn’t lean having a greater impact on the post-industrial economy? Why does it appear to be running out of ideas?

Even in manufacturing, where its roots are, the state of the art in lean far exceeds the state of the practice. Few organizations do lean well – most struggle with it or their senior leaders don’t take it seriously.

Elsewhere, lean is in even more trouble. In healthcare, physicians – who should be all for it – run away from it. While many government organizations have lean initiatives, only a handful have been truly successful. Most business schools today give short shrift to lean. Tomorrow’s leaders are being developed with little understanding of it.

Has the lean movement run its course?

Right now, the core philosophies and principles of lean are more important than they have ever been. But for them to become more mainstream, lean has to morph to better fit the nature of work and organizations today. To do this, it must let go of some of its outdated legacy concepts. What will the “new lean” look like?

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