Innovators Explore How to Leverage Product Development for Enterprise Change

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The theme of the recent 2019 Designing the Future Summit was how to use lean product and process development for widespread organizational change.

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Jim Morgan, PhD, author, product development executive, and senior advisor, product and process development, at the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI).

This year’s summit theme was how to expand LPPD efforts in product development to include the entire enterprise. - Jim Morgan

Because a company’s products and services represent all its value-creating activities and naturally form critical connections across functions, the development of new products and services creates a natural platform for enterprise change, according to presenters at the recent Designing the Future Summit.

And the most effective way these presenters, who are leading innovators, product developers, and designers, have found to change product development and the functions it touches is with a set of principles and practices knows as Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD).

“This year’s summit theme was how to expand LPPD efforts in product development to include the entire enterprise,” said keynoter Jim Morgan, senior advisor, product and process development, at the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), which sponsors the summit. He urged the 200 designers, developers, and innovators who attended the second annual conference in Traverse City, MI, on June 27-28, 2019, “to think about LPPD as an enterprise activity for engaging the rest of the organization.”

Morgan noted that the LPPD movement was spreading geographically and across industries. Attendees came from nine countries and from industries as diverse as automotive, aerospace, oil and gas exploration, furniture, appliances, robotics, and consumer electronics.

Developing Products and Processes Concurrently
Lean Product and Process Development or LPPD is a powerful system based on lean management principles for developing new products or services concurrently with the processes – such as manufacturing, marketing, and purchasing – needed to deliver them profitably.

Summit plenary presenters shared how they are spreading lean product and process development activities across organizations:

  • David Crawley, founder, Ubiquity Robotics, revealed how he combined LPPD and experimental methods at a startup;
  • Susan DeSandre, a supply chain executive at Ford and Apple, described how to apply LPPD practices in purchasing and supply chains;
  • Andy Houk, vice president, product development, and Tyler Schilling, co-founder and retired president, at TechnipFMC Schilling Robotics, described how LPPD principles and practices enhanced the enterprise culture of creativity and collaboration;
  • Frank Paluch, executive vice president, Honda of America, revealed how he is taking LPPD practices from his former post as president of R&D to his new role in manufacturing;
  • Andi Plantenberg, principle, FutureTight, offered insights on how the best companies generate bold ideas for new products with maximum impact;
  • Steven Shoemaker, general manager, engineering, Caterpillar, who first employed LPPD practices as chief engineer of hydraulic excavators shared how he is now applying what he learned to the Earth Moving Division;
  • Jim Womack, author and founding CEO of LEI, discussed how critical it is for developers to engage with manufacturing colleagues.

The summit included 10 breakout sessions and workshops. The third annual summit is set for June 17-18, 2020, in Traverse City.

About LEI
Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit training, publishing, and research company based in Boston, MA, with a mission to make things better through lean thinking and practice by creating more value and prosperity while consuming the fewest possible resources. Founded in 1997 by management expert James P. Womack, PhD, LEI conducts research, teaches educational workshops, publishes books and ebooks, runs conferences, and shares practical information about lean thinking and practice. Visit LEI at to learn more and subscribe.

About the LPPD Learning Group
The Lean Product and Process Development Learning Group is a unique co-learning partnership of leaders from diverse companies that want to dramatically improve how they develop products and services. This select group of companies has demonstrated executive commitment to lean transformations, an enthusiasm for collaborative learning where development work actually occurs, and a willingness to share the results with the global lean community. Learn more about the group at

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Chet Marchwinski
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