Hoshin Kanri – Part 1: The To-Do List

This week I will look at Hoshin Kanri (方針管理, policy management). The word is often used as a sort of miracle cure for the problems in your organization. The tool itself, however, is rather mundane, although it did significantly help Toyota. This, of course, did not stop the West from over-complicating and over-hyping it. This post is the start of a small series on Hoshin Kanri.

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Toyota Kata

Climber on SummitThere is one word that currently takes the lean world by storm: kata, or more properly Toyota Kata, a method developed by Mike Rother. The idea behind it is not only a bunch of buzzwords (like all too often) but actually goes in the right direction. Overall, I like the concept, although the attention it gets sometimes feels overdone. Let me give you the gist of kata.

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Disabled Employees in Manufacturing – Omron Taiyo in Japan – Part 1

In every country, a part of the population has temporary or permanent disabilities that handicap their working ability. While in Japan, I was able to visit two factories of Omron Taiyo, in Kyoto and Beppu, where the majority of the employees have a disability. This was quite an enlightening experience for me, and I would like to share it with you. Due to the length of this post, I have split it into two parts.

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Creative Provocation, Reverse Brainstorming, and Analogy

After showing you the details of a few basic creativity techniques, I now get to my most favorite one: creative provocation! It is a bit more advanced, but I had huge successes with this one. It is part of a group of techniques that alter the initial question to foster more creativity. I will also show you reverse brainstorming.

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Fishbone Diagrams and Mind Maps

A lot of lean problem solving requires creativity. There are many creativity techniques available to help generate ideas for problem solving. In my last post I presented brainstorming, which is a freewheeling creativity technique. In this post I will show you some creativity techniques that have a more structured approach. These include mind maps and fishbone diagrams. Both can be used in groups, but they are also helpful if you need to tackle problems on your own.

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How to Do Brainstorming

A lot of lean is about problem solving, and most of these problems are complex and difficult. Otherwise, someone would have solved them already. Hence, I would like to introduce you to different creativity techniques for problem solving. Most of them can be used in groups to access the collective wisdom and creativity. Most of them are also suitable to develop a number of alternative solutions, of which you can pick the best ones (see my previous post on Japanese Multidimensional Problem Solving). Many of them can be combined in sequence. Let me start with the most common one, brainstorming:

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