I’ve been attending the Lean Product and Process Development Exchange conference for several years now.  I attended the first LPPDE in Denver in 2008, and while I haven’t had “perfect attendance,” I’ve made quite a few of the exchanges, in North America and in Europe. That first conference was challenging for me, as I tried to wrap my brain around the principles of LPPD and figure out how they applied to my world of drug development.  Some of my colleagues questioned why I would even think of attending a conference that wasn’t a “drug” or “life sciences” conference. 

I know that if I had focused my training and development resources on the typical conference that drug developers attend, I would never have learned what I learned from LPPDE.  I would never have developed my knowledge about knowledge-based product development.  I wouldn’t have heard about A3s, or rapid learning cycles.  I wouldn’t have started to think about what concurrent engineering might mean in a non-engineering environment. I would never have learned that most of the innovation and product development problems we face are the same across industries – and that countermeasures like a lean management framework are adaptable whether you make helicopters, lawn mowers, artificial hips or monoclonal antibodies. 

If you considering coming to a LPPDE event, but are wondering whether it makes sense because you don’t think anyone from your industry will be there, take it from me.  You will learn MORE because this is a cross-industry conference.  You won’t hear the “same-old, same-old” you would hear at your industry-focused conference.  And you will head back to work with good ideas you can try the very next day.