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

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This course will be offered live online, "in real time", via Zoom. Please view the "Live Online" tab for additional information.


This senior leadership course helps executives and managers 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. As a participant in this course, you’ll gain a fundamental understanding of how visual management—specifically Dynamic Work Design—can help you find and fix issues in workflow, make improvements in real time, and create competitive advantage.

Bring a current “headache” you’re facing in your organization to workshop and receive personalized feedback on an action plan you can implement immediately.

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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: Live Online
Tuition: $4,100
Program Days (for ACE Credit) 2

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Built on a foundation of highly adaptable principles and methods called Dynamic Work Design, this senior leadership course provides practical tools and methods for sustainable improvement efforts of any scale, in any industry, and in any function. This method leverages and builds on familiar process improvement techniques with which you may be familiar, including Lean Six Sigma, Agile, PDCA cycles, Kanban, and others, adapting and applying them to knowledge work and smart work design.


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, 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. You will learn how to implement this technique in your own organization directly from two of its creators. You will discover how the process of visual management can help you identify the value-added elements of your own work and that of your organization. You will be able to identify opportunities for improving and get started based on a framework of principles and methods.


You will leave this senior leadership course with practical real-world examples and an action plan that focuses on one simple (yet impactful) problem to solve over twelve months (versus the mistake many make of trying to solve twelve problems in one month). Ultimately this will set the foundation for making additional incremental (and feasible) operational improvements and savings within your organization.


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

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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.

How Not to Manage in a Crisis

Crises often reveal the best and worst of how organizations function and thus offer an opportunity to learn and improve. In this webinar, Nelson Repenning discusses an alternative approach to organizing decision making processes that's been proven useful in any situation that requires rapid and ongoing change, crisis or otherwise.

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.