Continuous Improvement

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The Continuous Improvement effort is developing a prototype process for improving how state and federal agency systems that fund, regulate, or organize ecosystem recovery might improve services to local actors working on ecosystem recovery. It is inspired by Gemba Kaizen theory, initially developed within the Toyota Production System, where improvement opportunities are identified by the people who do the work on the "factory floor" and rapid improvement efforts are enabled through standard practices, and encouraged by leadership. We work with the resources we have, because self improvement in an intrinsic part of good government. The current iteration has received support from the Puget Sound Partnership's Ecosystem Coordination Board and is being guided by Lead Entities, Local Integrating Organizations and Ecosystem Recovery coordinators.

Continuous improvement emerged from inter-agency coordination work initiated during Coordinated Investment meetings. A "funding system first" strategy has led to close coordination with the Align - Washington Ecosystem Grant Coordination Workgroup, and the Floodplains by Design efforts to integrate natural resource management and Flood Hazard Management in Floodplains.

The Improvement Network

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Our hypothesis is that to implement a efficient continuous improvement effort requires simultaneous collaboration among five parties:
  1. The Coordination Community must work with local practitioners to look for opportunities to improve the recovery operating environment, and in good faith work with agency programs to identify improvements.
  2. Agency Programs must allocate effort to have good faith conversations with local actors to evaluate strategies for improvement.
  3. Agency Leadership must agree that spending agency effort on improvement in this way is important.
  4. Funders must provide increments of funding to create the capacity for improvement, where countermeasures exceed the capabilities of any one actor, but where the community agrees about the importance of improvement.
  5. A Community Forum like The Ecosystem Coordination Board or Salmon Recovery Council must sustain our communities attention to complete this work in a way that is efficient, and addresses the need for work on critical areas of ecosystem recovery.

Ongoing Improvement Projects

Supporting Materials

The following materials summarize the resources and ideas used to develop the project to date:

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