.2020 ~ Seyfert & Culberson ... JI: From Human Trafficking to Production With Dignity - Lean Frontiers - Be Bold. Be Better.

JI: From Human Trafficking to Production With Dignity

Presented By:

Robin Seyfert & Scott Culberson


Basha Enterprises has been ushering dozens each year out of human trafficking, into work with dignity. Through direct coaching we skill women up to the production of artisanal textile goods. In the used cloth a culture discards, women “learn to see” valuable bits, re-purposing them into new items of value. Training makes a picture of the creative beauty and power in work.

The region now faces added crises of a human flood of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Rohingya refugees. In late 2018 we fielded a call to absorb up to 3,000 new learners. Here begins our journey with the lean practices.

On bare basics, our first fledgling try boosted training capacity over 20-fold. From dozen-woman classes attaining salable product in 6 months, we led 120 refugees up to salable production in a month. Earnest novices did this an ocean apart from any coach. This was no beginner’s luck… it is TWI Job Instruction.

Next we are taking up how to extend lessons learned into how we coach the legacy operations across our three sites and into the future.

Learning Objectives:

  • A modern-day parable of the talents – availability is the best ability
  • What we don’t know so often exceeds what we do know. So Go-See: Trying and adaptive learning is the unbreakable way forward
  • JI is a robust, simple engine of forward-learning operator standard work

About the Facilitators:

Robin Seyfert is Managing Director of Basha Enterprises, Ltd., a nonprofit vocational-training-based manufacturer in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

In 2006 she joined a project aiding vulnerable Bangladeshis pressed into street prostitution, tackling HIV issues through a 10,000-village network. As for what those reached can go to, supply vastly exceeds demand for women and mothers lacking basic skills, a path to earning-based learning, and market connections.

In 2011 Robin launched Basha: This Bengali word speaks house and hope to ones stigmatized as bent objects of trade. It is rescue from the streets, safe home, base literacy and hygiene, skilling in production of artisanal textiles. Learners train in ways that yield salable goods. It demonstrates value, paying learners forward to next skills, new products, extending to more new learners. Through Open River Imports and others, Basha connects producers with demand.

Robin holds a Masters in Public Health from Oregon State University.

For more on the work, and learners’ own stories, visit:




Scott Culberson is a system thinker, architect of P&L results via learning organization. His consultancy, Lean Practices, focuses on enterprise-level lean transformation.

His background is development, corporate technical education, plant turnaround, production system design. ROI in continuous process, discrete assembly, logistic, reliability, service: Automotive, capital equipment, appliance, mining, materials, metal- and polymer-forming, printing, architecture, food, pharma, retail.

His book Sustain (2018) shows how lean uses emergence to arrange our babel of interests on mutuality, in forward-cycling extensions of value. Sustain retraces the deep structures of lean thinking through info science, the quality revolution, WW2, the Industrial Revolution, the Renaissance, down to Hayek’s catallaxy in civilization at the roots of Antiquity.

Scott is a Chemical Engineering graduate of Clemson University. He speaks French and basic German, from expatriations in Europe.