Make learning and discovery a daily habit

Download the free PDCA diary

From the books on Lean thinking in healthcare by Arnout Orelio

What if you have a good idea and it doesn’t work? Usually we give up because: “well, it doesn’t work!” or leave the idea and come up with something else, which hopefully will work. In this way we create more and more “solutions”. A waste of our creativity and energy. This is also disastrous for the support of colleagues, some of whom are only too happy to prove that “it doesn’t work”.

It is more effective to see every idea as a hypothesis, an assumption about what you think is going to happen. You see implementing it as an experiment and therefore as the beginning of the improvement process, not the end.

You’re going to discover and learn how to get something working. You go through the PDCA learning cycle until it works, until you have solved your problem or reached your target condition. But, how do you make this a habit? By practicing every day.


The PDCA diary will help you to

  • Take many small steps, one-by-one
  • Learn from each step
  • Make your thinking explicit
  • Put the "continuous" in your improvement

Application of the tool

The PDCA diary turns the Plan-Do-Check-Act learning cycle into a daily routine and a way of thinking. This makes it increasingly easier to learn and improve in unfamiliar territory, where you do not yet know the solutions.

Step outside your comfort zone and continuously improve (yourself).

  • Set your target condition.
  • Ask yourself which obstacles stand in the way of the target situation.
  • Pick one obstacle to work on.
  • Work step by step, line by line, on this obstacle.
  • Discuss the PDCA diary (each cycle) with your coach and/or mentor.
  • Share what you learn with colleagues and others involved.

Need any help?

Do you have questions about the “PDCA diary” and applying it in practice? Please feel free to contact the author, Arnout Orelio.

Arnout Orelio - Author, Speaker and Mentor - Lean Thinking in Healthcare
VAT: NL003803787B06 - Chamber of Commerce: 83285512