Kaizen critics on Innovation: Sustaining Innovation is not Kaizen!

The rapid change of the world makes innovation a lethal weapon to become a big part of solution to bring about countries, companies, or communities to a useful change that hopefully take them to the top the leading pack in the world. Little research on the topic could give many hints that innovation is the key. There are now disruptive innovation, cultural innovation, reverse innovation and other terms that use innovations as the key.

However, the overwhelming topic of innovation that filled the market has overshadowed some important not so radical, slow and not extreme change that comes from continuous improvement that actually be the backbone of many leading companies in the world. The power of kaizen culture which embedded in top leader of the pack has been uncover in the book The high-velocity edge by Steven Spear seems to be undermined by the amount of innovation books and its varieties on the market.

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I am not against innovation because I understand that without innovation no companies could ever bare their existence let alone leading. innovation is the key. I really enjoy reading books on innovation especially books by Clayton M. Christensen which really is the result of his in-depth research and reflection about the world of innovation.

My argument about innovation is that most of the books on innovations discussed about big changes that will lead to strategic/big step. My take on current innovation paradigm is that innovation is not enough because we still need kaizen. Some people say that kaizen is innovation also, but it really is not. The rule of thumbs is what your mind perceived what innovation is, reduce it by factor of at least 100.

When for example Clayton M. Christensen tried to detail innovation into a more elaborate by dividing it further into Disruptive and Sustaining Innovation. People get confuse because first, where is then Kaizen? Second,  a strange combination of words is used (Sustaining Innovation!).

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The Innovator’s Dilemma (Christensen 1997) identified two distinct categories—sustaining and disruptive—based on the circumstances of innovation.

  1. Sustaining Innovation : when the race entails making better products that can be sold for more money to attractive customers—we found that incumbents almost always prevail.
  2. Disruptive Innovation :when the challenge is to commercialize a simpler, more convenient product that sells for less money and appeals to a new or unattractive customer set—the entrants are likely to beat the incumbents. This is the phenomenon that so frequently defeats successful companies. It implies, of course, that the best way for upstarts to attack established competitors is to disrupt them. (Low end disruption and New market disruption)

Confusion happen among the practitioner of whether Sustaining Innovation is Kaizen because it is also about making better products to attractive customers. Additionally, two words of sustaining and innovation are both contradictory in nature in a way that when innovation happen, change happen and it moves the object of innovation to some future state.Thus actually it is inappropriate to give the name “sustain”. Sustain means almost equally to maintain. Hence it means the innovation going nowhere but only maintain and hence going nowhere.

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History wise, the Kaizen term exist already since 1986 which is kaizen/continuous improvement which small incremental improvement. However, it seems that the founder of kaizen concept had predicted that confusion between Innovation and Kaizen will likely to happen.

This big misconception has been cleared before by Masaaki Imai in 1986, a notable quality philosopher and practitioner and the founder of Japanese consulting company namely Kaizen Institute or best known by the west as the father of Continuous Improvement. Misconception of innovation happen when people associate immediately innovation with improvement. The truth is that innovation indeed is improvement but improvement is not just innovation. Improvement consist of Kaizen and Innovation in which until the next innovation, kaizen will improve the system little by little.

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From the graph it is clear that Kaizen perfected Innovation. It means that any types of Innovation whether it is disruptive innovation, cultural innovation, reverse innovation will be make perfect by following through with Kaizen afterwards. Kaizen will target improvement until next innovation.

Hence it is very clear that innovation itself is insufficient to create a winning edge and that innovation coupled with relentless kaizen become the ultimate answer. This is why in my opinion, despite of the effort to rally with other companies toward Innovation from generating, managing, until applying innovation many firms still happen to be in the lower league. Because Innovation without Kaizen is just like “Pound Saving, Penny Foolish”. It seems good that you get to save many Pounds, but other companies take care also every Pennies possible with Kaizen and overtime they who cares for both thrives.

! Book Review (Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Without Blowing it)

Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing ItBrag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It by Peggy Klaus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this book because its unconventional and direct way of delivering ideas. Its structures are clearly divided by points and followed by explanations. What’s more about it is that for me, this book really match with The Dip by Seth Godin. While The Dip intelligently describe how we can achieve our goals and going through the bad times with persistence, it somehow pass an important point of how can we enter into the road that leads to our goals. Brag! is all about leveraging your capability to enter the path of your dreams.

The book turns up side down the conventional notion of bragging and by calling “Bragging is an art” and pointing vital phenomenon that the 21 century workplace is no longer a safe and secure haven for anyone or any career because job security is virtually non existent.

The motto of this book is that if you don’t speak up yourself then who will? The idea lies in bringing out a new paradigm in which we are the product, nevertheless of where we work and how long we have already work, we are a product for employer. Therefore, the goal is for us to create the most valuable product that worth to be offered.

What I like about this book is the so called Myth of bragging. It really open up a whole new horizon about what bragging truly is. In the book it is presented 7 point on the Myth of bragging. Of all of those points, number 1 and 4 are what gets me excited about learning to brag because I have done exactly these myth and now that I know that, I can change.

1: a job well done speak for itself
2: i don’t have to brag people will do it for me.

What I don’t like about this book is the assumption that introvert is the same as shyness. Because bragging is not just for an extrovert, but for all. In fact, the best performers are often an introvert and as Malcolm Gladwell repeatedly remind us, performance and introversion could go along really well.

A last note about this book will be besides learning the art of bragging, it also gives a resourceful tips for those who struggle with performance review and and will help with tips for those who need to pass job interview.

Related Book:
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to QuitSeth Godin

The Dip

The Dip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

View all my reviews

To get to know about who is Peggy Klaus (The Author):

Story of Scientific Management Guru: Back to the Roots of Scientific Management with Frederick Winslow Taylor

While his name is not known to most people, his impact on the 20th century was quite profound. He is Frederick Winslow Taylor, a management theorist that focus on the labor process. He is the backbone of today’s management by the use of science. His works started blooming in an era after companies have become more than a mere limited project, but unlimited by the boundary of time and that in this time, industrialization is on the move.

Companies were growing in scope and racing to reap the benefits of industrialization. They were so starving in harvesting benefits of industrialization. In that time, companies need much more labor than ever to be able to produce products that made possible by the industrialization.However, even labor is many, a fundamental problem is emerging that needs an answer, how do we get labor to work more to ensure maximum output?

His works begin with many writings in the theory of work that mainly focusing on  finding the way of controlling the motion of workers to obtain highest maximum output for what company pay for wages.

Even all that he has created  is not fully acceptable in todays modern era but many of his concepts become a root for current management practice. His controversial concept such as the concept of soldiering that workers didn’t work hard enough is totally rejected by lean thinking that fundamentally held a strong believe that worker is good and therefore most of error come from engineer or the architect of the system that most of the time have to put to blame.

Soldiering held a believe that in a majority of cases the man deliberately plant to do as little as he possibly can to turn out far less work than he is well able to do in may instances to do not more than 1/3 or 1/2 of a proper day’s work. ~ Taylor

Proper day’s work is a maximum level of output humanly possible or  a fair day’s work. when worker is not physically possible to reach this, he fired them. He argued that soldiering was possible because company management does not even know how much work can be extracted from workers. once to make a stubborn man who refuse to make any improvement to achieve this fair days work he cut his wages.

Industriearbeiter Giesserei // foundry industry employees

Taylor’s goal was to take knowledge work from the worker and put it in the hands of management to be used as control of workers. He himself called this method as Scientific Management. However, his method on full reliance solely on management let to the born of shopfloor expert which is industrial engineer. However, as people said that too much is never good, the role of management in shopfloor is too dominating that even in the development of work instruction, management get a majority of decision on the content and organization of it which is fundamentally different than now

But his famous real contribution besides of his many controversial concept is his management theories and the concept of time study.

There are many and different ways for come at doing the same things, there is always one method and one implement which is better than any of the rest. and this one best method and one best implement can only be discovered through a scientific study of an analysis of all the methods in use.

He stated that no job is to simple or to complex. In fact, in he has spent 26 years only for figuring out the best way to cut metal. but in other examples, many simple works can be rationalized as well.

Some of his wise words are never more appropriate now compare to at his time:

We can see our forest vanishing, our water-powers going to waste.. the end of our coal and iron is in sight. But the larger waste of human effort, which go on everyday through such of our acts as are blundering, ill-directed or inefficient are less-visible, less tangible and all but vaguely appreciated.. ~ Frederick Taylor

Where productivity comes from? Relation between Quality, Lean, Efficiency

From my last post about over months ago, we have grasped the idea and underlying concept of Lean. That the divine purpose of Lean is to give value to customer. Lean means providing value to customer.

5 principles of Lean

In previous post also, we know that there are fundamentally 5 Principles of Lean which are:

  1. Specify value for the customer
  2. Integrate Value Stream
  3. Create Flow
  4. Pull from the customer
  5. Aim for perfection

Looking deeply between the initial definition and the 5 principles of Lean. It seems logically correct that providing value to customer is indeed will be achieved through all the 5 principles of Lean. However, this indeed is also a deception for many.

Not that I say those principles are useless, on the other hand, people has to know those principles by heart. Despite of that, in my opinion, 5 Principles of Lean are not comprehensive enough in serving higher purpose of providing value to customer because it somehow lacks of comprehensiveness. If we look at those all 5 principles and pondering on those points, we can have assumptions that Lean is all about efficient of operations to provide value by means of faster, responsive and flexible operation by implementing integrated value stream, flow, pull and then aim for perfection.

Java Printing

These points have failed to serve the true comprehensive definition of lean which is providing value to customer because it simply do not pay attention to “quality” matter. In fact, none of the 5 principles seems to talk about quality (poka yoke, inspection, culture of quality).  This had led many to miss-understanding that lean is just efficiency (value stream, flow, pull). Lean comprise efficiency indeed, but not only that. It is also quality and all that is required to bring value to customers.

Because as we come back to the true definition of lean that is providing value to customer, we realize that Lean defintion is larger than 5 principles of lean itself.

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That ambiguous translation from basic definition of Lean into the principles of Lean, make a miss-conception about achieving Lean in relation with improvement culture. Improvement has twofold and people have always been mistaken when talk about improvement. Lean improvement as perceived by most people as working toward a more efficient operations is preferable in most case because it gives a sense of boost to ongoing operations and increasing productivity. On the other hand,   quality improvement sometimes not as popular because for many it just don’t seems boost their production quota. So, they tend to prefer efficient improvement compare to quality improvement.

People has mistakenly grasped the concept of improvement that they tend to associate improvement to efficiency because by and far, it will boost productivity quickly. This is bad in a long term because quality is stronger and has a bigger impact in a sense that on the long term, focus on quality improving productivity and increasing quality. Both quality and efficiency however have similarity in the need to specify customer value and strive for perfection.

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Sometimes we deeply understand about the need for efficiency improvement because it directly impact our output in short term. But those who forget to deal with improving quality is in the long term will be definite loser because while you neglect quality, others not. They improve productivity through both quality (inspection, poka yoke devices) and efficiency (integrate value stream, flow, pull)  improvements of operations which give them a twofold advantage to their productivity increase compare to those who only care about increasing efficiency.

So, I want to again stress that the 5 principles of Lean is in fact very important to remember. But one shall never forget the in-comprehensiveness of the principles and that the fundamental definition of lean is always comes first.

Lean is providing value to the customers.

How to built Quality into a process: a lesson from Shigeo Shingo

Lately, I am quite busy and overwhelmed because of so many things I have to do right now. From doing many reports in my workplace as well as continuing a research project for university. However, I really so into and passionate in doing the research project particularly because the topic that I work in is both my passion and my work. I am now researching theories about Quality especially how to create a culture of quality and found a classic book from Shigeo Shingo which I fall in love with. The book is titled Zero Quality Control. I admire the wisdom he has at that time that even many people or companies today might not know about it yet. Here I will share some of his important view on built-in quality.

Young business woman presenting colorful charts and diagrams

In summary, he elaborate on his journey on finding the most effective inspection method to built quality into the process. Those three inspection methods are all currently use all over the world right now, but as he said personally that sometimes people do not know what is the right one for them and in what situation they have to use it. Those inspection systems are:

    1. Judgment inspections (inspections that discover defects)
    2. Informative inspections (inspections that reduce defects)
    3. Source inspections (inspections that eliminate defects)

Next several weeks I will try to explain what is the really the difference among them. Additionally, it is worth to mentioned here that Shigeo Shingo give a basic recipe of how to built quality into your process.Those are:

  1. Use source inspection
  2. Always use 100 percent inspections rather than sampling inspections.
  3. Minimize the time it takes to carry out correction action when abnormalities appear.
  4. Human workers are not infallible. people are human and set up effective poka-yoke devices accordingly as control functions.

Small Changes, Big Achievement!

I just read a blog by Beyond Lean that is so insightful. In his post, with the title Small Change vs. Large Change, he highlighted about how Paul Akers at FastCap often talks about 2 seconds kaizen.

I have read Paul Akers’ Book about 2 Second Kaizen which describes his personal journey on creating kaizen culture in his small to medium size business (at that time). Following my current reading on Workplace Management by Taiichi Ohno, this post really spark a light for me to set out this post about small changes.

Company has been the center of all attention for decades. But scaling further to a level of personal kaizen, big achievement by means of doing small changes can definitely be a roadmap to improvement. I would imagine if we are not only focus on doing productive works but in addition to that, we apply 2 seconds kaizen on how we went throughout our day.

BELIEVE

It has been acknowledged that doing the right things before doing things right will elevate productivity in our lives by preventing doing the wrong things. But truly I said that bigger achievement is attainable by performing small changes in doing things right. Now I invite you, my fellow travellers, let us set for ourselves to do everyday at least 2 achievements (productivity) but as complementary also do 2 seconds of kaizen ( improvement in method of doing things).

Deceiving Industry with Quality: How Customers could Give the right signal of Quality?

People in the business are busy defining the definition of Quality for them to be better at producing, delivering and satisfying for the benefits of customers. However, sadly, many customers still deceived by these terms of quality that people or customer of often said that if they want a high quality then there will have to incur high cost. “Good products means high cost”

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As a customers, we see much too often that buying a quality product is about getting information from another people such as our friends, colleagues, or review of great product and then determined which one is quality product according to them and go to store and buy it.

What happen is sometimes people forget that quality products means that this product fulfilled customer’s satisfaction and that customer that is satisfied is actually is  “us” or “we” or in your case is “you”. At the beginning, quality is defined as those products that could best match and fulfilled customer’s needs. With this definition, I therefore sometimes feels awkward when I heard inside a store when a person tries to buy a high quality product merely for the sake that it is deemed good by the product label or a review from a reviewer body such as review in YouTube or any articles or professional reference magazines.

I am not trying to point out that these sources of information that tries to provide customers with the best possible references of current best high quality product is useless. It is indeed, the other way around. These references will be so much helpful for customers to know the average high quality product as perceived by the so called representation of customers such as YouTube, or some other reviewers online in internet or offline. However, the real customer is a single one of us that go into the store and buy a product. Therefore, when a customer go into a store, they have to realize that buying a high quality product means buying a product that best fit with their needs because high quality products as perceived by company that many company tries to capture is to make a product that best fit your needs.

when a customer go into a store, they have to realize that buying a high quality product means buying a product that best fit with their needs because high quality products as perceived by company that many company tries to capture is to make a product that best fit your needs.

Buying a product only because you think that the product have a high quality as labeled by reviewers or manufacturers is deceiving for a long term. It is because in the long run, if customers buying high quality products that actually they don’t really need, they unfortunately send a sign to the manufacturers that the product that they produced is indeed have a high quality as it sold good in the market. Thus, at the end, Industry will have a false impression of a good quality product.

As we can see in the picture above, we as a customer sometimes easy to see that the product is not conform with the level of quality that we should have, but not with the case with detecting and acknowledging that there are also some products that actually we don’t need and do not conform with our needs because they are just over-qualified.

chinese female shopping

Over-qualified products get noticed from the effects after we buy this kind of products. We will likely never use many features that it have because it seems so advance and cool in the advertisement but actually we never actually need it or inappropriate at time of use. Therefore, we will just usually store it in our house because it seems have a value and function that will benefited us at the time of buying, but when it comes to using the product there are simply no place and proper time to use it.

Think about a very nice high tech Hand phone you bought or a very nice dressed that you bought. How many feature in our Hand phone that we don’t actually need and how many nice dressed that we thought it will be nice to buy it and wear it to a huge event in which this event will never yet come.

Buying high quality product is to buy a product that best fit your need.

Because every company in the world will do anything to create product that best fit your need, then why you are buying a product that is under-qualified or over-qualified to fit your need. Sometimes illusion of advertisement will make us buy this over-qualified product and the sense of security of spending money will make us buy all the under qualified product that will not fulfill our needs.But the best to gift signal for companies all around the world to be better at reading customers’ real needs or quality level is to show them by buying only the products that we really need.