Interview with a Lean Leader – Trish Livingstone

 This is the first of a series of interviews to help us get to know our Lean leaders

Trish Livingstone

Trish Livingstone Director, Provincial Kaizen Promotion Office

What would success look like for the Provincial Kaizen Promotion Office?
If we are successful, we will see care being redesigned to put patient’s needs first – for example, we will see unnecessary waiting removed from our processes and preventable harm avoided. To achieve this vision, we want to engage the entire workforce in learning the knowledge and skills to continuously improve their work each day. Lean engages front-line staff and their patients to make improvements because they know the work best. Our goal is to help those who help others. All health regions, Health Quality Council, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, Shared Services Saskatchewan, and e-Health are committed to this transformation. Our success depends on working collaboratively with all of our health system partners to create an integrated health system and seamless service delivery.
We’ve had a great deal of success with Lean so far, and now we want to focus those efforts on what’s most important to patients, deepen our skills and accelerate our pace of change.

What was your first job? What led you to your current job?
My first job after high school was as a recreational respite worker working for a summer camp for autistic children. This job taught me so many things – about patience, perseverance, most importantly – about developing relationships. Learning how to understand the world from another’s perspective was an important lesson I learned working with these amazing children. Since completing graduate school, I have worked with the Government of Saskatchewan as a researcher, policy analyst and manager. Quality improvement work has been my most rewarding portfolio.

What’s your hidden talent?
I enjoy photography and it’s a talent I’m working on improving! Sometimes I grab my camera and the kids and shoot a memory card full of photos in an afternoon. I like taking natural portraits but I also enjoy capturing unique perspectives on everyday things. Like Lean, photography teaches you to “learn to see.”

If you could be any character in a book,movie, or television show, who would it be and why?
Recently, our family watched the children’s movie “The Lorax” which is based on a Dr. Seuss book. I was inspired by “The Lorax” character who speaks for the trees because the trees have no voice. In this story, he was a calm but persistent voice for his cause – environmental protection. At one point in the story, the Lorax’s forest is desecrated and he sadly flies away leaving behind one rock etched with the word “unless.” Later, the message behind the word is revealed: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” It speaks volumes to the power that each of us has as individuals to change the world. Unless you care to try to make a difference, nothing will change. I hope to inspire others who work in our health system to transform it for our patient’s sake, our children’s sake. It would also be fun to be the Lorax because who wouldn’t enjoy being able to fly just by pulling up on the seat of your pants?
Where would you like to live, if you could live anywhere?
I would live in Regina! My family and my husband’s family reside in Saskatchewan. I was born in Saskatchewan and studied at both of our provincial universities. Saskatchewan maintains its “small town” prairie pioneer spirit that relies on working together. I believe we can make our vision of a better health care system a reality. I’ve always been very proud that Saskatchewan was the birthplace of Medicare and I hope to see our province once again become a leader in health care in Canada and the world.

– Originally published in Transforming Health Care Through Lean – Summer 2012.


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