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.

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Join Green Movement in Urban Area

Last post, in my personal article focusing on plastic bag, I have elaborated the importance of the role of Industry in determining the progress of  transformation into green and sustainable living. In addition to the Industry effort, we as a customers in any supply chain, a human that lives in the earth and a parent that will have to pass on the living environment to our future generation, has an obligation to the progress of green and sustainability of living around us.

For those of you that live in Urban area where people bustle everyday, tall buildings occupying most spaces  and transportation seems never stop their activities, the hustles will be more intensive than people that live in suburban or small city area. However, I can convince you that it is possible to still join Green Movement to preserve the good side of the city that we have know and to fix those that have already been destructed by pollution and other matters. Below are several tips for you to get to move and participate in small act to make our city Greener and more comfortable for a living.

1. Electricity and Water Use Awareness

By saving energy and water, we actually will in the end save our money.The US Department of Energy has statistically calculated the hundreds of dollars savings that could be achieved by smartly using energy and water. From Coffee Maker, Refrigerator, Fan, Clock Radio, Cell Phone Charger, Personal Computer until Printer, there are still a lot of possibility that we can cleverly reduce our consumption.

One great example is to turn off the lights if you know that you will leave the room for more than 15 minutes or you can also put a sensor to further save electricity. Another is sharing fridge. Sharing fridge seems have a little impact, but in reality, the cost of electricity from fridge itself is consider as large in comparison to other home appliances. So, instead of buying small fridge for each of rooms in your house or apartment, you can plan to share a fridge.

2. Buy Green Products

Eating organic, free-range, local and fair trade are also a great options that will definitely have a positive impact. However, because those products are rather expensive, an alternative is to to eat less meat, use canvas bag when you can, use recyclable plastic bag and buy from your local to get anything from fishes and meats to vegetables or fruits and still contribute to environment.

Buying green products will also unconsciously lead you to healthier living by avoiding more and more consumption of junk food which have bad effects that will later take away money from your pocket due to obesity, diabetes, depression and nutrient deficiencies.

3. Urban Farming

The previous two tips are all about getting better at managing what we already have. The next tips will be about making small changes that have a big impact. It starts with Urban farming. It is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city.

Urban Farming is very fun activity to do. If you have a garden in your house, you can use it as your own farm. Even if you have only a roof (flat roof ones), you could turn it into a space for farming. Urban Farming is so easy as you can simply use your window as a medium for farming which Urban Farming Communities called windowfarms.

Urban Farming communities is now everywhere in the world, you can find communities around you with the like minded purpose and the good thing is that all that effort you spend in your farm will be fruitful as you can sell it as an organic product through Urban Farm communities and organizations. The organization also has good resources for education from methods of urban farming until ways to plant a certain plant and dealing with issues like watering and soon.

4. Cycle to Work

Another fun way is Bike to Work scheme. Using bicycle to go to work is a very effective method to achieved so many things. It is not only contributing to a more greener and sustainable environment, but also saving money for gasoline and make you more healthy. For some people, indeed, Cycle to work could also save life.

If you have a road bike, you can go to work riding it and take a shower in your office and you will be fresh and energetic to start your day. Another good alternative that I found very compelling is to use Folding Bike. I love folding bike because it gives commuters so much flexibility on the way. There are many combination of method that can be done using folding bike to get us to workplace in no time.

5. Change our Mindset from “WANT” to “NEED”

Our mindset is a powerful thing. Have you heard about feeling lonely in a crowd ? This is exactly what mindset is able to do. It can make you happy or unhappy when you decide that the circumstances seem to prove that you should have it. The fundamental change in mindset could change the way we behave and how it affects our surrounding.

To change mindset, the key is to know what our currently mindset is toward a particular situation. Oftentimes, in relations with buying or shopping, we as a customer has been automatically set our mindset into “WANT mindset”. The reason is, this is the right mindset that all retailer shops want customers to have so that customers will more likely to buy their products.

So, now we should change our mindset to NEED instead of WANT. Think before buy is a good step to take. Do some researches before buying anything instead of getting tempted on the spot when you see a very nice advertisement. Go online, watch videos, read articles and make sure that you purchase good stuffs that you need. Then, you will be surprise by how much stuffs you really need and how much stuffs you already have that are actually got there and hanging around since you first bought it.

Remembering the Real Santa Claus

At mid-night, I suddenly heard a rushing wind flowing into my house. I woke up and thinking if the sound was actually real or a part of my beautiful Christmas dream in the midst of Christmas night. I was curious yet a little bit afraid because my parents have already slept and no one is there to protect me in case if anything should happen to me. In the curiosity I tried to keep silence with my blanket on top of me covering my whole body. I pretended that I was sleeping, hoping that I actually fell a sleep and just forget about this weird night. The next sound I heard, I was so certain that someone was in the ground floor indeed. I then opened my door room  and walked very slowly, to avoid to get noticed. I went down the stair to the ground floor and turned on the lights very quickly with a wish that the intruder will got shock by it and ran away. But after I turn the lights on, there was nobody in the room. I looked right and left, my eyes searching for the source of noise that I had heard from my bedroom. I found no one there but surprisingly when I glanced to the Christmas tree that my parents and me assembled just before I went to bed, one additional red boxes with my name is placed under the tree. As I approached the tree to hold the box, I heard bells ringing and I ran quickly to the window and saw Santa Claus was there, he saw me back from his sleight with all his reindeers, smiled, waved at me and laughed out loud “ ho ho ho”.

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How many times, we heard the stories and movies about Santa Claus that tells the tales about a big man riding his sleight with all his lovely reindeers giving presents in the night of Christmas traveling very far from South pole where he manufactured all the gift helped by all his dwarfs.

When I moved  to Belgium, I surprised by the fact that the Santa Claus that I have known for my whole life is not exist. It is not entirely a fictitious character though. But only here when I stay in Belgium I discovered the true Santa Claus. Santa Claus or also being famously called by religious catholic by the name of Saint Nicholas is a Santa in Catholic religion. Here in Belgium, people has a huge respect on the true Santa Claus. He is very famous that he became the patron of many things from archers, children, merchants until pawnbroker.

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Indeed, some of the story of Santa Claus that we knew today was originally a fruit of the real Saint Nicholas’ heroics and charity acts. He was a Christian bishop of Myra. He was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas.

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In Belgium, 6th December turns out to be a great feast day of Saint Nicholas that is celebrated publicly by a festival. A noticeable difference exists in the way Santa Claus dress in Christmas event in Belgium. With the effort to combine the famous American way of Santa Claus and the real Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas, usually a man who became Santa in Belgium will dress with a combination between both Santa Claus that just look similar in the picture above.

In addition, recently I just found a fact of one of the big influence of the famous American Santa Claus tales. It  is the book titled “The Life and Adventures of Santa Clauswhich is a children’s book, written by L. Frank Baum in year 1902 that has shaped world perception of our currently held wide belief of Santa Claus. The book has later got into production to become a film in year 1985 with an ever good rating in IMDB website until today.

Kaizen Story : A Commuter Life in Foreign Country

Being a student in a foreign country leaves me with little choice when it comes to transportation. I studied not too far from Bremen, Germany and have an experience of travelling by carrying bicycle with bus or train. I always feel like bicycle in a train or a bus could draw attention  of passengers especially on the busy hours. The regular bicycle that we carry into train or bus will attract the attention of others due to the space that it will consume that can actually be the space for them.

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In addition, trying to comply with the rules regulated by the local government, a bicycle on the buss or train is subject to a certain price to travel along with us. I think this is because of the reason for space that I mentioned. However, as a student in a foreign country, bicycle is my primary mode of travel. I use bicycle to go to campus, shopping, travel to other cities on the weekend, go to friends house, etc. Basically, for most of them, there will be a combination of riding a bicycle and carrying a bicycle on the train or bus

 

Thinking about saving time and money, I determined to do continuous improvement on myself by investing in a folding bicycle which will leave me free of charge of expenses on train or bus when carrying folding bicycle. I can also stripping away the complexities of urban life faster than before. It offers a healthy and cost effective method of commuting plus the advantage of multi-mode travel versus conventional bikes.

 

 

I think it is not exaggerating that folding bicycles is the most appropriate solution for nowadays busy urban life. I bought Dahon Mu P8 after considering and weighting the effect of changing bicycle from conventional into folding bike. Additionally, Dahon Mu P8 is a really good folding bicycle which comfortable, light and stylish to ride.

Advantages of Folding Bikes
  • Foldable bikes offer flexibility and ease of commuting via train/bus and bike as they can be carried free on public transport.
  • They are virtually thief-proof, a huge advantage in major cities  where bike theft is commonplace.
  • Folders, as they are lovingly called by their owners, fit effortlessly into cramped spaces so are ideal for apartment owners.
  • Used as a commuter bike, they offer a healthy, green method of transport and potential cost savings versus a car when used with public transport for longer journeys.
  • Folding bikes are great as training bikes for cyclists travelling abroad and are super easy to pack as they simply fold into a travel bag.
  • They have a high resale value so are a good investment.
  • Buying a folding bike is pretty straightforward as they generally only come in one size with other parts such as the seat post offering different “sizes” for individual riders.

Read more at Suite101: Why Ride a Folding Bike?: Pros and Cons of Buying a Foldable Bicycle | Suite101.com http://suite101.com/article/why-ride-a-folding-bike-a100289#ixzz24uhr90qR

Folding Bikes that I have…