BALLOON TECHNOLOGY (Lean IT Process vs. Traditional IT Process)





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Published on May 12, 2010

By Alejandra Ruelas & Daniel Alejandre

According to the Information Technology Association of America, information technology is the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware. It deals with the use of electronic software and computer software to convert, store, protect process, transmit, and securely retrieve information.

Lean IT refers to stop using technology in a way that produces wastes. It means about putting it into a proper perspective, driven by a practical purpose. Leans point of view of technology is often unreliable, inflexible and overproduces, it means that if you add more machines to the process, the cost they have should be justified by keeping it busy all the time.

Traditional IT believes that technology is the solution for your problems. Its philosophy is to lower labor cost, and doesnt matter if you have to replace human thinking with technology. Its design is based on a push system. The philosophy is that more information and sophisticated analysis is always better than simple human judgment. The people become dependent on the system, which is vulnerable to failures because they stop thinking and follow what the system dictates: the result is more waste.

The main objective in the video is to make a comparison between lean and traditional information technologies.

The woman represents the first one, the base thing in lean IT is to make visible the problems and then make use of the technologies to solve them. In the video, the balloons represent the technologies you can use. In her case, she meant that is not necessary to use all the technology that exists to solve the problems, that is why she only has two.

The man symbolizes the traditional IT, he is all rounded with the last devises in the market. All the names in the balloons are examples of technologies or effects of them because of changing the human thinking with the machines. He wants to implement all this to his company to produce more and more, but what he havent realized is that he is lacking of having a well defined objective to solve an specific problem.

At the end of the short media clip, the woman is the one who flies because she had a well structured problem with a solution that guided her to reach perfection, to be in heaven of production by reducing waste.

As a conclusion, technology supports human decision making, it does not replace it; it should support people in waste reduction. The principle point is not only based on what technology is selected, but of how system is designed and implemented.


LIKER, Jeffrey; MEIER, David. Make Technology Fit with People and Lean Processes. In: The Toyota Way Fieldbook. Ed. McGraw-Hill. First Edition. 198 - 216 pp.

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