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Improvement Kata


  • Author
    Bruce Hamilton & Bill Constantino

Making Scientific Thinking a Life Skill for Everyone The Improvement Kata pattern is a better way for learning and developing the capabilities of our most valuable resource: our employees. Shigeo Shingo noted that continuous improvement means trying something we’ve not done before — treading into unexplored territory. Yet, most organizations task employees with entering into uncharted waters as if it is already familiar. The results are almost always disappointing both to employee and manager. Using an example familiar to most, learning to drive, GBMP compares traditional “push system” learning with the Improvement Kata method, which redefines the manager’s role as coach and enabler. Many humorous moments in Anna’s learning process underscore the benefits of the structured, scientific Kata approach. In the end, Anna learns a valuable “meta-skill”, a deliberate, scientific method that can be universally applied to any challenge she may face. Whether in our personal or work lives, achieving challenging goals requires a set of practiced skills and a social environment that support a scientific approach to problem-solving. The challenge to kaizen — small changes for the better — requires a set of practiced skills that create a social environment supporting the technical science of problem-solving. This video of Anna’s driving lessons provides an introduction to the critical importance of Kata methodology to real human development.
About the Shingo Institute

Housed at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, the Shingo Institute is named after Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world's thought leaders in concepts, management systems and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Business System. Drawing from Shingo's teachings and years of experience working with organizations throughout the world, the Shingo Institute has developed the Shingo Model™ which is the basis for several educational offerings including workshops, study tours and conferences. It also awards and recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture that continually strives for improvement and progress. Those interested in more information or in registering to attend the 30th International Shingo Conference may visit