Pandemic Places Lean Coffees Online

Written by Tracy Schuster
ILC Membership Development Manager

It’s the same Lean Coffee conversation you’re used to, only a lot closer to your kitchen.

Last month, as part of the CIRAS response to COVID-19, the Iowa Lean Consortium was forced to cancel all in-person Lean Coffee events through the end of July. Instead, we’ve moved the discussions online to offer a robust virtual forum for anyone interested in sharing ideas and personal experiences with Lean.

The online version follows the same formula as traditional Lean Coffees. They’re structured but agenda-less meetings where participants gather, build a list of topics and begin talking about various issues. As a result of this democracy in discussion – a focus on what the participants really want to focus on – our conversations tend to be more directed and far more productive.

The only difference now is that the conversation takes place on Zoom — and, that you must provide your own coffee. (Sorry.)

Our online Lean Coffees meet from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m on Friday mornings, and they are open to anyone. The entire group gathers for a few minutes, then breaks into smaller breakout rooms. As with the in-person Lean Coffee, the agenda in each breakout room is determined by the participants, who use a virtual Lean Coffee board to share the topics they’d like to discuss. Each virtual room then has a designated facilitator who takes the group through the process. Everyone comes back together to share epiphanies for the last 10 minutes of the meeting.

Please join us to share your personal experiences with Lean, to ask questions, or just to enjoy some conversation with like-minded souls.

In the words of one recent participant, “Lean Coffees have a way of rejuvenating me. Today’s was a much needed rejuvenation. It has me thinking differently and created a new sense of motivation… What you do is making an impact.”

Visit this registration link to sign up for the next Lean Coffee or visit this page to see other resources we’ve placed online because of the pandemic. For more information, email Tracy Schuster at