Visual Management for Competitive Advantage: MIT’s Approach to Efficient and Agile Work

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This program helps executives understand how continuous improvement strategies, sustained over a long period of time, affect core business metrics and business development strategy and contribute to the success of the organization. This course equips managers with a fundamental understanding of how visual management—as well as their own approach to management—can be improved to create competitive advantage.

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Visual Management for Competitive Advantage: MIT’s Approach to Efficient and Agile Work
Certificate Track: Technology, Operations, and Value Chain Management
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Tuition: 2019: $3,900 (excluding accommodations)
2020: $4,100 (excluding accommodations)
Program Days (for ACE Credit) 2

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This program — built on a foundation of highly adaptable principles and methods called Dynamic Work Design — provides practical tools and methods for sustainable improvement efforts of any scale, in any industry, and in any function.


Proceeding from principles, not practices, is a key to sustainable change, allowing integration with current culture, and processes, while delivering fast results with little overhead of training or major initiatives. The method has proven to work in businesses as diverse as oil/gas, DNA sequencing, and engineering/innovation - and works at the scale of discrete problems or organizational-wide strategic efforts. Improvement begins to happen in rapid and natural ways; results begin showing up almost immediately.


Dynamic Work Design was co-created by Nelson Repenning and Don Keiffer after a combined 20+ years of integrated industry practice and academic investigation, and further refined with insights and expertise provided by Sheila Dodge. Participants will learn how to implement this technique in their own organization directly from two of its creators. Through the process of visual management, they will discover how to identify the value-added elements of their own work and of their organization and more importantly, identify opportunities for improving and how to get started based on a framework of principles and methods.

Please note: The title of this program has changed. The program was previously named "Implementing Improvement Strategies: Dynamic Work Design."

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The 4 principles of dynamic work design

Dynamic work design allows knowledge-based employees to find and fix issues and make improvements in real time, just like on the factory floor. Using four underlying principles, it defines two distinct types of work for both physical work and intellectual work: “Factory” and “studio.”

Fueling Employee Engagement with Dynamic Work Design

Best practices and multilevel organizational charts rule the business world. But in their quest for smart work design, executives typically forget one fact: “In real life, things almost never go as planned,” says Nelson Repenning. His research, instead, has long focused on what happens when employees get bored or frustrated or overwhelmed and deviate from the best-laid plans.

Participant Testimonial

"A very good blend of practical and theoretical faculty. Prof Nelson Repenning delivers the theories behind Dynamic work design while Don Kieffer adds the flesh to the bones with practical content. Kieffer's practical approach to improvement strategies are well worth the course alone. Everybody are able to take something back to apply day 1 back at work." -
Clas W.