When groundskeepers on Washington state’s Capitol campus were asked how they would improve efficiency, they came up with an unorthodox idea: Stop cutting the grass.

…starting this spring, workers got the go-ahead to test the idea at a few out-of-the-way places around Olympia’s state government complex. In some fields, the grass is now knee-high. In others, the crews replaced grass with a special mix of durable wildflowers.

Daniel C. Vock outlines a unique and innovative approach to Lean management and sustainability being put to the test by our neighbors up in Olympia, WA. Gov. Inslee reached out to state employees throughout Washington for ideas on how to streamline operations and improve efficiency at all levels of government.

Capitol groundskeepers had several ideas on how to reduce water usage and focus crew efforts on more sustainable land management practices – everything from mulching trees to installing two beehives on the Capitol campus to help pollinate the flowers. These efforts even led to collaborations with local volunteer groups to care for a campus vegetable garden that donates vegetables to a local food bank.

Read more here about the great work being done by the Washington state Capitol grounds crew.

Want to read more about Lean management principles? Check out what the Lean Enterprise Institute has to say about it (though, honestly, there are numerous places to find information on Lean management).