by Brion Hurley
For decades, the methodologies of Lean and Six Sigma have spread successfully throughout many industries, from manufacturing, hospitality, banking, utilities, aerospace, automotive, entrepreneurship, and even entertainment.
In addition, sustainability and social responsibility are also becoming popular approaches within organizations. Volunteering and fundraising are common ways that companies populate their annual reports, to show all the good they are doing in the communities where they reside. Although these approaches are beneficial to these nonprofits, imagine if the organizations became more fully engaged in these major societal problems?
What if organizations could volunteer their process improvement skills, in addition to donating their money?
Unfortunately, not many organizations are doing this today. The volunteering might require their hands for a couple hours, but what would happen if they volunteered their business skills and experiences?
One organization in Portland, Oregon (USA) is working on ways to help engage these organizations in more hands-on support of larger problems within the Portland metro area.
Started in 2012, Lean Portland has been organizing Lean and Six Sigma practitioners (typically from local for-profit organizations) to volunteer teaching and coaching nonprofits, non government organizations (NGOs) and not-for-profit organizations how to operate more efficiently and effectively to achieve their mission. The practitioners are able to share their knowledge with an eager audience, and the nonprofits get the benefits of making their donations and workforce better achieve their mission.