The school undergoing a lean and digital transformation

The vision for the future of Herman Otto Elementary School has been focusing on the needs of students, their families and the environment – and trying to align activities and the way the school is managed to the fulfillment of those needs.

They introduced a new way of working together – based on the “four Cs” (Creative problem solving, Critical thinking, Communication and Collaboration) – that our teachers had to make their own by developing those capabilities.

The Hungarian lean community gave a lot of good ideas on how to move first steps towards becoming an adaptive organization.

One of the most impactful steps they took was the introduction of three-month PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycles for 10 Working Groups that we created around specific subjects, like innovation or talent management. Whenever they spot a deviation from the plan, they can now make adjustments immediately and pick up learning points along the way that can inform decisions over the next improvement cycle.

As an example: To make on-boarding activities for new teachers more effective, seven important processes were highlighted and videos were made to train the teachers in the standards for those processes. This approach proved successful not just to teach newcomers, but also to practice how they use storytelling in teaching (videos are routinely used in the classroom to teach students).

Another important foundation of their lean transformation was the Suggestions Box. People made suggestions, which were used to create new standards and improve existing ones.

The changes in our teaching and management style (a result of both our lean efforts and the 4Cs approach) are reflected in the type of education our students receive. First of all, our students learn about collaboration and teamwork: they are not just sitting around the same table, but they are really working together, building trust and sharing knowledge and experiences. It’s been wonderful to see a real sense of responsibility towards their mates develop.

Students can also influence the teaching they receive: for instance, they can suggest subjects they want to learn about or improvement projects for the school they’d like to carry out.

In response to our teachers wanting to leverage technology to improve education (a push in this direction is also coming from the Government, which is promoting several initiatives on digital in education). This also happens to be a great platform for learning-by-doing experimentation, which we can use to create capabilities for the school. Ultimately, our goal is to become a learning organization, and the digital transformation is a tool to get there.

Both lean and digital are being used to build a platform for innovation in education at Herman Otto Elementary School.

Lean’s biggest contribution to the school is teaching them how to learn – something technology is best placed to support. First they develop this critical capability in teachers, then in students, in order to equip them with the skills they will need to thrive in an ever-changing world.

Herman Otto Elementary School wants to be a pioneer in tomorrow’s education. Lean has taught them that everyone has a responsibility to improve themselves.

At the end of the day, that’s what innovation in education is.

Read the entire article at