Improvement Kata: Making Scientific Thinking a Life Skill

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.

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