About Lean in King County

Lean is a way to solve problems. We love problems in Lean; problems are opportunities to improve. With Lean thinking, we can solve problems like unmet customer demand or unexpected “fires” at work. And also problems like “How can we achieve our goals? How can we deliver more value to customers? How can we make this work less frustrating?”

The two principles of Lean are continuous improvement and respect for people. These principles are mutually reinforcing: we develop a culture of continuous improvement by respecting the people who do the work. A Lean organization develops and engages workers as learners, thinkers, and problem solvers. We respect the ability of people to improve themselves, their teams, and their communities.

By eliminating waste in our work processes, Lean helps us to more efficiently deliver services to the people of King County.

Lean is more than just a set of tools to improve business performance. Lean also makes our work better and easier by fixing the complicated processes that frustrate us in our work.

What is King County Achieving with Lean?

Already Lean has helped us maintain the integrity of our elections while reducing costs, provide more health insurance coverage and bolster healthcare delivery, develop better ways of managing our inventory, and improve many other lines of business, saving the people of King County time and money.

We’ve been acknowledged as an innovator by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the National Association of Counties. We’re becoming a leading Lean organization.

We’re breaking down silos in our government; we’re empowering a 21st century workforce and making their jobs more enjoyable; and we’re delivering more value—better results in less time and at lower cost—to the people of King County.

How Can I Learn More?

King County employees can learn more about Lean

Others can

  • follow our journey on the blog and newsletter,
  • check our impacts,
  • send us feedback, suggestions for improvement, or stories of Lean elsewhere in the world.

Lean also emphasizes going to the place where the work actually happens to get the facts about how things are working and find solutions to problems. Who knows best what the problems are and how to fix them? The people who do the actual work! The Lean journey starts with the real work.

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