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Steven Spear

Senior Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Steven Spear, author of The High-Velocity Edge, is a well-recognized expert in how exceptional organizations create competitive advantage through the strength of their internal operations. These high velocity organizations manage complex design, production, and administrative processes for unmatched performance based on unmatched rates of internally generated improvement and innovation.

His articles, “Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System” and “Learning to Lead at Toyota” have been widely read and have become part of the lean manufacturing canon. Spear's “Fixing Healthcare from the Inside, Today,” won a McKinsey Award as one of the best Harvard Business Review articles in 2005 and his fourth Shingo Prize for Research Excellence. He has published in Annals of Internal Medicine and other medical journals as well and has had op-ed pieces in the New York Times, Boston Globe,, and Industry Week. He has been interviewed on Bloomberg TV and radio and on CBS News and quoted in a number of magazines and newspapers and has spoken to audiences as diverse as the Association for Manufacturing Excellence and the Institute of Medicine.

As a consultant and advisor, Spear works actively with organizations to develop their capacity for high speed sustained improvement and innovation. He played an integral role in developing the Alcoa Business System, which has been credited with saving hundreds of millions of dollars in Alcoa's annual report, and the Perfecting Patient Care system of the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative, which helped raise quality and safety of care in area hospitals and which has been credited with saving many lives and much money. His clients include organizations such as Lockheed Martin, John Deere, Intel, Intuit, Brigham Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He consulted for the MacArthur Foundation, and works with Toyota on supplier development efforts. An MIT senior lecturer, he teaches a course about lean manufacturing and six sigma in the Leaders for Global Operations Program and supports the Institute for Healthcare Improvement efforts as a senior fellow.

Spear’s academic degrees include a doctorate from Harvard Business School, masters degrees – in management and mechanical engineering – from MIT, and a bachelors degree in economics from Princeton. He worked for the investment bank Prudential-Bache, the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment, and the University of Tokyo, and he taught at Harvard Business School for six years. He and his wife, Miriam, an architect, live in Brookline MA with their three children.

Updated June 2011

News and announcements:

LGO Senior Lecturer Steven Spear quoted in Target magazine article
Also: Spear wrote this article for the blog

LGO Senior Lecturer Steven Spear interviewed by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality - podcast and transcript available online

Op-ed about healthcare system by Steven Spear of LGO (The Boston Globe - June 7, 2009)

LFM Lecturer Steven Spear's book “"Chasing the Rabbit" and the healthcare system (Inside Healthcare - May 1, 2009)

LFM Lecturer Steven Spear comments on auto industry

"Lessons from High Velocity Organizations," video interview (February 2, 2009)

Column by LFM faculty member Steven Spear “Racing Ahead of the Competition” IndustryWeek (January 14, 2009)

Steven Spear

Contact info:

Steven Spear
77 Massachusetts Ave.
Building E40-315
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

Phone: 617.281.7620
Email: sspear "at"

Visit Blog: The High Velocity Edge


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