Lean, Agile & the Pandemic

I have been watching the news of late and thinking about the potential of Lean and Agile learnings that may exist in societies response to world events…to be honest I do this all the time, news, movies, TV series, books, songs, you name it, I am always seeing examples or hearing quotes and feel inspired.

Here in Australia we have been watching the news about the production of the COVID vaccine which is said to be as close as Feb21 with around 4 million doses. There are 2 thoughts here:

1. Testing & Production

I would love to lift the lid and look under the bonnet of the process for testing and production. I feel like there has been a big focus on speed to market, where else could we possibly need greater speed to market than here, right?! But it would be great to hear about what challenges and how improvements were put in place to minimise bureaucracy and eliminate delay in process. Imagine what could be achieved if we applied the same or similar approaches when an outcome was not as life threatening.

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2. Iterative Release

There are approx. 25.5 million people in Australia. It is said the first COVID vaccine batch of 4 million will be ready in Feb21. This will likely, and should, be prioritised to those in the highest and medium risk categories first such as those that are over 70, recently had organ transplants or have a disease that puts them at risk if they were to contract the virus. Is 4 million the right batch size? It seems small enough, but what if the first million was to be distributed as production continued, could this help prevent the spread faster? What is the optimum batch size when the cost of delay is so high?

Figures from the ABS show in 2019 that 16% of the Australian population were 65 and older so maybe 4 million is based on catering for the over 70’s first.

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It is possible with the new strain in the UK starting to be identified in other countries, and the potential that the virus could evolve or mutate again, we could be looking at a cycle of jabs like to flu shot to keep up. The ability to be adaptive, flow focussed and increase the speed of distribution are all important.

This is a serious topic and, like many, my friends and family have been impacted by change due to COVID. I mean no offence in offering these thoughts. Situations like this get me thinking about improvement and I do believe it is an opportunity to learn about what has worked well in this case study so we can inspect and adapt.

I would imagine others have had similar thoughts.

Look after yourselves and be safe!

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