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Continuous Improvement at UC San Diego

UC San Diego is the recipient of a 2020 CIO 100 Award for its campuswide commitment to and application of continuous improvement. Over 3,200 staff members have received formal Lean Six Sigma training for strategic process improvement that continues to guide a multi-year digital transformation of all enterprise systems and campus business processes.

Learn how continuous improvement is a way of life at UC San Diego!

The following summarizes UC San Diego's Continuous Improvement journey with links to the supporting initiatives.

Develop a Strategic Plan

In 2015, UC San Diego developed the first institutional strategic plan. In support of “goal 5” of that strategic plan, “to create an agile, sustainable and supportive infrastructure,” UC San Diego developed the Office of Operational Strategic Initiatives. OSI identified Lean Six Sigma as the methodology to leverage.

Plant cultural seeds by training and sharing tools widely 

OSI has trained over 2000 staff at the Yellow Belt level. OSI developed the initial training in conjunction with Rath & Strong Consulting LLC, which introduces the LSS concepts and terminology. This shared understanding empowers staff to become change agents. 

Processes are documented and shared openly using Nintex Promapp. This intuitive mapping tool encourages transparency and collaboration.

Expand impact through Green & Black Belt certification and scholarships

OSI and the VC-CFO have funded 140 staff scholarships, which have resulted in over $14M in annual savings.

Engage the community through networking with BECOP

The UC San Diego Business Excellence Community of Practice (BECOP) is a consortium of local communities of practice for Change Management, Process Improvement based on Lean Six Sigma, and Project Management. These communities represent a group of professionals, informally bound to one another through shared interests as change agents, business improvement practitioners, aspirational entry- and mid-level professionals, managers, and strategists to foster operational excellence.

Cultivate Continuous Improvement at UC San Diego Health with THT

THT, the Transformational Healthcare Team, provides tools and training specifically designed to support our health and medical staff. The department’s mission is to create a culture of continuous improvement with a vision of developing 10,000 problem-solvers who continuously improve the value of care for our patients while loving their jobs.

Celebrate and share culture through the annual Process Palooza event

Process Palooza celebrates UC San Diego’s commitment to business excellence, operational efficiency, and continuous improvement. It’s a full-day, high-energy conference that leaves attendees with real lessons learned and actionable takeaways. What truly sets Process Palooza apart is The Great LSS Race. Teams go head-to-head, testing their Lean Six Sigma skills to improve fundamental campus processes.

Facilitate large scale initiatives through Lean Bench and ESR 

The Enterprise Systems Renewal (ESR) program is a multi-year initiative that has reshaped the way UC San Diego does business. With input from subject matter experts from central offices and academic departments across campus, the program’s focus is the optimization of core business and administrative practices as we deliver new systems that will effectively meet the needs of our growing university.

Lean Bench members support and advance UC San Diego’s Strategic Plan to create an agile, sustainable, and supportive infrastructure by ensuring a dedication to service, people, and financial stewardship. The cohort of selected Lean Bench members is recognized as process improvement experts across the institution. They not only receive training to ensure consistent efficiency and excellence across campus but utilize opportunities to apply their skills to improve campus processes and bring value to the university.

Help people navigate changes with SOCM 

The Strategic Organizational Change Management (SOCM) framework accounts for the people side of change. Large enterprise changes, like ESR, include a change team made up of change leads and practitioners, project managers, analysts and trainers who work within the SOCM framework to develop an integrated plan for communications, reporting and training.

The structure ensures each project is in tune with audience needs and impacted personnel receive the awareness, leadership, coaching and training they need to successfully navigate the coming changes.