The Kaizen approach could be used anywhere…


According to Wikipedia, Kaizen (改善), is the Japanese word for “improvement”.

In business, Kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain.[1] It has been applied in healthcare,[2] psychotherapy,[3] life-coaching, government, banking, and other industries.


The Kaizen approach is based on the belief that continuous improvement adds up to substantial change over time. When teams or groups implement Kaizen, they avoid the mistakes that often go hand-in-hand with major innovation. Very appropriately the Japanese word Kaizen means “good change.”

While Kaizen is typically applied to industrial processes like supply chain and logistics, it’s useful in the context of personal productivity and work habits, too. Kaizen is less about working more, and more about clever adjustments, accepting failure, and applying learnings in order to work better.

Kaizen is flexible and adaptable and can be applied to many areas of your life – not just at work.

From wanting to be more productive to wanting to complete a creative project, the following tips can help you get there — step by step.

  1. Find out where your time and energy is wasted.
  2. Ask yourself what small steps you can make to be more productive.
  3. Set aside time to think about what’s working and what could be improved on. Ask yourself:
  • What was the best part of your day?
  • What was the worst part of your day?
  • What could you improve upon for next time?
  • What did you feel proud of today?
  • What did you learn?

Often we set ourselves very ambitious goals but after a couple of weeks, we have abandoned our good intentions. We feel like failures and forget why we set those goals in the first place.

The Kaizen approach won’t change your life overnight but it could be the starting point to achieve your goals.

To read more about ODI’s Continuous Operations Improvement Systems, click here.