Skip to main content

Host Your Own Process Palooza

You are welcome to host a Process Palooza on your location. Read on for insight on how UC San Diego pulled it off, and how you can refashion Process Palooza to meet your needs. You'll learn:

  • What to include in your event
  • How to set up a competition based on improving a process through Lean Six Sigma
  • The people and materials needed

Process Palooza Backstory

Process Palooza was the result of a convergence of three factors at UC San Diego:

  • Hundreds of staff members had completed formal Lean Six Sigma training by earning Yellow (beginner), Green (intermediate) or Black (expert) belts. Sponsoring departments, including IT Services, UC San Diego Extension, and the Office of Strategic Initiatives wanted to showcase the accumulated knowledge to campus leadership.
  • The university was in the beginning phases of a major ERP effort with process optimization at its core.
  • A handful of people with interests in change management, continuous improvement and project management were meeting informally to grapple with merging all three concepts.

 UC San Diego had the skillset, the interest and need…but something was missing: A way to bring LSS practitioners together and harness the collective knowledge.

Three Pillars of Process Palooza

At heart, Process Palooza was conceived as a way to spotlight Lean Six Sigma at UC San Diego. 

The three pillars supporting the event included:

  • Process improvement competition aka The Great Innovate
  • Presentations, workshops and poster sessions
  • Networking and community building including LSS-inspired games, booths and lounges 

Your event can feature one, two or all three elements - it just depends on your goals and resources! 

Check out the sections below for specifics on each!

Competition Resources

Titled “The Great LSS Race,” our competition was designed to let LSS practitioners roll up their sleeves and improve an actual university process in a limited amount of time. Participants set about improving actual processes from two campus departments. Winning teams earned prizes, and each team voted one member "best of team." 

What you'll need:

  • Competition room – give your teams plenty of space to collaborate and work.
  • Materials – provide pens, whiteboards, sticky notes, etc. 
  • A process for teams to analyze – check out the competition packet to see what was provided to teams. This is an actual UC San Diego business process!
  • Judging criteria – establish a scoring rubric and judging guidelines
  • Prizes – reward your process improvement superstars!

Who you'll need (keep the process secret):

  • Competitors - LSS yellow, green or black belts to scrutinize a process and suggest improvements
  • Judges - Staff to objectively evaluate teams' solutions. Include competition process owners.
  • LSS experts and competetion process owners and actors - Personnel to answer teams' questions (but not provide help) on either the process or LSS techniques. Check out the process owners guide
  • Emcee - master of ceremonies to keep the program moving 

Workshop Resources

Hosting a Process Palooza - with or without a competition - is a great format to educate your organization on all things Lean Six Sigma, including:

  • Basics (ie, one-hour white belt class)
  • Uses in higher education
  • Adopting a lean mindset organization wide

You can accomplish this through general session presentations, workshops, case studies and poster sessions. 

Check out the workshop schedule from Process Palooza 2017 and watch recordings of the sessions!

Networking Resources

There's no better place for talking all things Lean Six Sigma than an event like Process Palooza. Networking is a natural part of any conference, and can be built into Process Palooza. You can consider setting up networking activities to:

  • Facilitate discussion among like-minded individuals
  • Showcase resources for learning more about LSS, including courses your university offers 
  • Recruit for specific committees or projects

UC San Diego also used Process Palooza to building membership for two important initiatives: 

Business Excellence Community of Practice (BECoP)

Process Palooza turned out to be the ideal incubator of our unique Business Excellence Community of Practice (BECoP). Open to all, BECoP addresses the intersection of change management, continuous improvement and project management. Members come together to share best practices, learn from each other and look for opportunities to strategically deploy skills. Process Palooza served as a central point to both fully explain the concept of BECoP and actively recruit. Since Process Palooza, a formal board of directors has been formed, 130 people have joined up and six campus-wide workshops have been conducted. Learn more:

Lean Bench

Process Palooza was also key in populating our Lean Bench. The “Lean” is from Lean Six Sigma and the Bench refers to a roster of 12 process improvement experts. A highly selective application process resulted in the identification of these 12 LSS experts. Lean Bench members are available to assist departments in need by applying their expertise to optimize clunky or inefficient campus processes. The concept of a bench means that members keep their normal positions in their home department. Through interdepartmental consulting agreements, they analyze processes with an objective, outside perspective. Learn more:


The Lean Bench has already been deployed to provide process improvement reviews to multiple large ERP-renewal efforts, including Research Administration, Financial Services, Academic Personnel, with several others waiting in the wings. These ERP-renewal efforts are equal parts process improvement and technology upgrade – there’s no reason to apply new tech solutions to bad processes.

On-Site and Remote Hosting Options

The space requirements for hosting Process Palooza are similar to most conferences you've attended, including a larger ballroom for general session-type presentions, workshop or breakout rooms, vendor or booth area, lunch and snack facility and a space to conduct the competition. 

Some people might not be able to attend on site, so you can also consider livestreaming all or part of your event.