Nov 13, 2008

Break down the walls

Kaizen is a Japanese concept of improving productivity. It literally means “change” and “better," or changes of current methods to produce a better result. Toyota figured this out, and based their entire production system around it.

As humans, our natural tendency is to resist change. It brings risk. Instead, we like to maintain the status quo, keep things the way they are and too often settle into the comforts of our own mediocrity. In business, we build artificial walls to block cross-functional cooperation and resist the development of new strategies.

The Harvard Business Review published an article highlighting the efforts of some companies to develop collaborative Distributed Innovation Groups that take part in brainstorming and problem-solving sessions, identify customer needs that could lead to new offerings or business models, consider how to use existing technologies in new ways, scan the environment for emerging technologies and their applications, advise business units, and publicize promising innovations and ideas.

Change most often fails to occur not because there are systems in place to prevent it, but that there aren't any systems in place to begin with. Its a lack of organization and coordination. Find a leader. Be that leader. Unite individuals throughout an organization to seek out and implement the change the market is calling for. If you're not growing, you're dying.s