The Big Short : anticipating the unthinkable from the gemba

Just saw the movie The Big Short. Exciting cast, great actors, great plot, lively editing and a very clever and unconventional approach to explain complicated financial concepts (for some reason when Margot Robbie explains one from her bath while sipping champagne, we tend to offer a better quality of listening).

But the thing that has fascinated me in the movie was how character Mark Baum (based on Steve Eisman) walked the whole process backwards to figure out what is going on. From the customer – a Miami stripper who gets morgages for 5 houses and a condo from not very scrupulous mortgage brokers – up to the Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) Manager, including credit rating agencies and the SEC.

A great way to fight misconceptions and collective illusions. A way we call Gemba in Lean : going where the value is created and walking the process from the customer backwards. In most organizations, the hypothesis whereby the process doesn’t not work as intended remains unthinkable. Lean’s assumption (verified so many times) is that unless you walk the process backwards, you just dont have any idea of what is going on.

In a time where everybody laments a post-factual world, a great example of how to go and see for yourself the actual facts to fight a collective illusion and a culture shaped by confirmation bias on steroids.

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