Masaaki Imai Kaizen Video; Share Kaizen Stories for My Upcoming Book


Here is a great video by Masaaki Imai, author of the classic books Kaizen: The Key To Japan's Competitive Success and Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management.

In the video, he emphasizes that kaizen means continuous improvement and he points out that a better definition would be everybody improving, everywhere, and every day.

This is the spirit that my co-author, Joe Swartz, and I are trying to capture in our book titled Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Improvements.

In introductory material, we talk about the role of Kaizen Events, a popular approach in healthcare (often called Rapid Improvement Events or Rapid Process Improvement Workshops). These events aren't bad, but they're also not a complete approach to Lean or kaizen. We are writing the book because we think most healthcare organizations are missing out on the opportunity to, as Mr. Imai puts it, engage everybody in improvement every day, everywhere in the organization.

In the book, Joe and his organization, Franciscan Health System in Indiana, are sharing many of their experiences and lessons learned, primarily around Norman Bodek's “Quick and Easy Kaizen” methodology. We will be publishing many kaizen examples to illustrate the method and mindset.

I am bringing in examples from other organizations, including those who are using other variations on kaizen, such as the visual idea board. What's important isn't really the mechanics of things, but rather the mindset. How do supervisors and managers engage people in implementing small process and workspace improvements? How can senior leaders help promote and support these kaizen activities? What are common barriers to kaizen thinking and how can we get around them?

So we'd like to invite you to share your stories and examples with us. If you'd be willing to be interviewed for the book, please email Mark Graban. We'd hope that you could talk about your method for kaizen, what cultural changes you have made, and how you manage kaizen in a visual (or electronic) way. Hopefully you can share some photos and examples to help make ours a stronger book.

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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.


  1. Really looking forward to reading what you come up with! Great for you to untangle a piece of “sustainment” by looking in to the kaizen techniques. Glad you are doing this, Mark!

  2. […] I’ve been talking to a lot of healthcare organizations about Kaizen and continuous improvement. There are many organizations embracing the methods that Joe Swartz and I wrote about in Healthcare Kaizen. I think there’s some momentum building out there for making sure that Lean isn’t only a bunch of projects — instead, having everybody engaged in improvement (as Imai says: everybody, everywhere, every day). […]


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