Some of the most powerful lean lessons come from people I like to call “accidental lean thinkers” – leaders who successfully followed lean principles long before they had heard of the Toyota Production System. One such leader, who is unknown to the lean community, is Mauricio L. Miller, president and founder of Family Independence Initiative (FII), an anti-poverty organization. Miller’s commitment to respect for people is remarkably similar to Toyota’s, yet he’d never heard of lean until my father, Claude Stoller, saw the connection and introduced us in October.
The result of Miller’s thinking was the founding of FII, which now has offices in six major centers across the U.S., and is helping thousands of families start businesses, acquire homes, and send their kids to college. FII has no social workers, no programs, and gives no advice. Instead, it studies communities and finds resources to help low-income families fund their own initiatives.
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