The final speaker for the Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence’s sixth-annual summit opened his keynote with a statement that had emerged as a running theme across the three-day experience: “We’re no longer a knowledge economy; we’re a learning economy,” said Dr. Bradley Staats (pictured, above), an associate professor of operations at the University of North Carolina and author of the forthcoming Never Stop Learning. “It’s not what you know today; it’s how you’re going to adapt, how you’re going to change to deal with the uncertainty you face tomorrow.”
COE’s Leading Through Excellence summit brought together nearly 500 process excellence leaders from across the country to Columbus in April for a dynamic variety of continuous learning opportunities, a record crowd for the event, which launched in 2013. Take a look back at Leading Through Excellence 2018 through this photo essay, featuring photography from Jodi Miller …
More than 200 summit attendees headed offsite on the first day of the event for gemba visits offering an up-close look at problem-solving and innovation strategies at companies around Ohio. One group traveled all the way to center member Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Akron headquarters to walk the floor of its race-tire manufacturing plant and see how visual management is embedded in the company’s product development process.
Another group headed up Kenny Road to experience the student-industry partnerships under way at Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research, which has partnered with the summit on two other occasions in the past.
Center member Clopay Building Products hosted a wide-ranging tour of its massive 1 million-square-foot-plus manufacturing operation in Troy, guiding attendees through the site on trolleys that stopped throughout for quick looks at problem-solving strategies embedded in the facility.
Back in Columbus, keynote Karen Martin opened the day with an exclusive workshop on her latest book, Clarity First, which examines how too many companies are leaving value on the table by letting ambiguity flourish – and details how to overcome it. “The words we choose and the actions we take make or break what happens to people’s lives and the financial well-being of organizations and employees,” Martin said in her keynote the following morning. “Clarity is a big deal – and we need to take it seriously.”
Fisher College of Business faculty member David Veech, who works with the Master of Business Operational Excellence degree program, led a half-day morning workshop that taught attendees hands-on team-building strategies to use in their organizations – and rarely had them in their seats.
Brutus Buckeye stopped by COE’s annual reception for speakers and board members at Ohio Stadium. Pictured are, from Columbus-based Leverage HR, breakout hosts Shawn Garrett (left) and Sapna Welsh (right).
Each year, COE features a number of Fisher College of Business researchers sharing the latest insights with their work in industry. Here, Nathan Craig, assistant professor of management sciences, gives his breakout session attendees a crash course in machine learning, a technology that’s transforming how organizations are putting data to work.
The COE summit isn’t possible without the support of more than 40 student volunteers, who assist on tours and workshops and introduce featured speakers, and other Fisher and Ohio State staff members. Pictured, from left, are students Muhammad Shire, Anthony Lazerri, and Jin Li.
The threat – and opportunity – of disruption emerged as a running theme of the summit and was the featured topic in a number of breakout sessions. Here, Root Inc. Managing Director David Kalman in his breakout session offers insights on building a culture of disruption.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Charles Duhigg served as the first-ever keynote for COE’s inaugural summit in 2013. He returned this year to share insights from his latest book, Smarter Faster Better, telling attendees that “thinking more deeply has always been the killer productivity app. People who are able to think more deeply about their goals and priorities, and what they ought to be spending time on, or about how to innovate faster, about how to see insights better. Those are the people who end up succeeding over time.”
The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, a regular partner at past COE summits, returned again this year to entertain attendees during the second day’s evening networking reception.
At the annual networking reception, COE also features Fisher College of Business students who have successfully completed operational excellence projects with a number of Columbus-area nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
Fresh off his Big Ten Coach of the Year win, Buckeye Men’s Basketball Head Coach Chris Holtmann stopped by the kick off the third and final day of the summit, sharing his insights on leadership and offering a candid look at a blockbuster first season at Ohio State.
Companies willing to “lift the hood” and share how they’re tackling tomorrow’s biggest challenges are at the heart of COE’s summit line-up. Here, Nationwide leaders (from left) Kevin Yania, Tobi Milanovich, Tom Paider, and Erik Bennett take part in a panel discussion on how the Columbus-based insurer is incorporating artificial intelligence into processes.
Fisher’s Master of Business Operational Excellence program is a driving force in creating tomorrow’s lean leaders. One of those graduates, Emily Jackson, hosted a breakout session on the summit’s final day to detail how she’s working to embed a culture of continuous improvement and respect as director of nursing quality at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
Leading Through Excellence isn’t a solo sport. Each year, dozens of organizations bring teams – like this one from member BMW Financial Services – to learn new problem-solving strategies and search for the next great idea to implement at the office. Leading Through Excellence 2019 returns to the Fawcett Center in Columbus April 9-11, with registration set to open Dec. 10, 2018.
For a look at more photos from this year’s summit, head to our Flickr page …