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Kaizen vs. Innovation

A table from a 1986 Japanese textbook on Kaizen is interesting.






1.    Effect

Long term and long lasting but undramatic

Short term but dramatic

2.    Pace

Small steps

Big Steps

3.    Timeframe

Continuous and incremental

Intermittent and non-incremental

4.    Change

Gradual and constant

Abrupt and volatile

5.    Involvement


Select few “champions”

6.    Approach

Collectivism, group efforts, systems approach

Rugged individualism, individual ideas and efforts

7.    Mode

Maintenance and improvement

Scrap and rebuild

8.    Spark

Conventional know-how and state of the art

Technological breakthrough, new inventions, new theories

9.    Practical requirements

Requires little investment but great effort to maintain it

Requires large investment but little effort to maintain it.

10. Effort orientation



11. Evaluation criteria

Process and efforts for better results

Results for profit

12. Advantage

Works well in slow growth economies

Better suited to fast growth economy

Note point # 12 and ensure that the differences between the 2 approaches to improvement are clearly understood.

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