As Japan’s Elderly Ranks Swell, Toyota Sees New Path to Growth


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    Wednesday's Wall St. Journal front page had quite a contrast. Next to an article about how GM is struggling, there was a glowing profile about how Toyota is using their technology to develop new innovative products for the aging population.

    “Toyota has a long tradition of applying core technology to diverse fields, dating back to 1937 when founder Sakichi Toyoda spun the car-making business out of his loom manufacturing operation. Ever since, Toyota engineers have tried to be equally resourceful, translating their expertise to areas ranging from communications to bioengineering.”

    It's an interesting reminder, I think, to the general public that doesn't study Toyota that the company didn't start as a car company. It's quite a different history than General Motors. Also, thinking back to this year, Toyota sure gets treated more positively in the business press. It's not completely undeserved, considering Toyota's business success and growth, now being poised to overtake GM for #1 in global auto production. GM's problems can't be blamed on bad PR, nor could they be fixed by positive PR.

    It just goes to show what kind of research and forward-looking projects that Toyota is able to work on, given their success and profits. GM is stuck looking in the “woe is me” rear view mirror, their better times being in the past.

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.



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