KaiNexus Education Video #6 – Improve Continually


Here is the sixth in our series of  short, simple Kaizen education videos from KaiNexus, a software startup where I am on the management team.  We are embedding these videos into our web-based (and iOS) software, to provide short tips and hints for our users. We're also making the videos available on our YouTube Channel and our education videos playlist. Subscribe to our channel to be notified of each new one that's released.

Click here to see all of the videos through my blog or here to view them on the KaiNexus website. We also have an RSS feed and a podcast on the iTunes Store.

This video talks about how kaizen should be a continuous process, not just a series of events or projects.

Video updated September, 2014 – View on YouTube.

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Approximate transcript of the video:

Video #6: Continually improve (not just a one-time project)

Hi I'm Greg Jacobson, from KaiNexus.

All healthcare organizations are working on improvement efforts–  many in the form of projects or improvement events.

You have probably already heard me talk about kaizen and how it generally means change for the better – usually in the context of ongoing  continuous improvement.  Some people associate the word kaizen only with weeklong projects.  But, if you do a couple events a year, how can these events be considered “continuous?”

It's true that some opportunities for improvement do require the structure of a formal event – which includes planning, forming a cross-functional team, and gathering lots of data and KaiNexus has great tools to manage these relatively complex efforts.

But other opportunities for improvement aren't big enough or complex enough to require a weeklong event or even a two-day event.

What's great about KaiNexus it that it's built to also help with everyday continuous improvement and that's where you – the everyday KaiNexus user comes into play- finding and addressing lots of small opportunities for improvement.

A small improvement might include replacing an automated paper towel dispenser in the NICU with a quieter manual dispenser that doesn't wake the tiny patients.  Or, it might involve hanging a small hook in the bathroom so patients can hang an IV bag. Small Kaizens can include physical changes to our workspace, process changes, or small changes to our information systems.

Leading healthcare organizations want every staff member and every physician to be a problem solver every day, focusing on things that we can each improve locally within our team and with our leaders. KaiNexus helps you communicate and coordinate these efforts, keeping everyone on the same page.

Login to kainexus to see what your organization is working on.  If you have an Opportunity for Improvement, enter it.  It will only take you a minute and it will help get the improvement process going…

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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. In my experience in the manufacturing sector, the number one reason for kaizen failure is the lack of upper corporate management support. I do not think this was due to a lack of interest in kaizen. It was due to the lack of communication from frontline employees to the CEO, COO, etc. Your software is needed to move an organization, no matter how big, into one team.

    If a supervisor knows the CEO may be reading how a suggestion is being handled, that suggestion suddenly becomes very important to the supervisor. Accountability leads to motivation.

    How else does top corporate management know what’s happening? How do they know who their kaizen leaders are? How do they know where their training dollars are needed?

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more, Kevin. I see the exact same thing in health care. I have watched dozens of departments implement kaizen programs, and the number one factor in success is leadership. You brought up a subtlety that I had not appreciated until now. Let me explain.

    I have always believed that leadership’s importance lay in its need to “beat the drum.” But, I think your view is equally valid (maybe more so). Transparency creates accountability from top to bottom as well as bottom to top but, as you mentioned, it also creates accountability in the QUALITY of the interactions within the kaizen work. At the end of the day if you do a ton of bad improvement work, you have potentially harmed the system more than had you done nothing at all.

    I firmly believe in the need for an electronic platform to manage this work. How else can you have a transparent system that involves complex, large work forces? This is where I believe KaiNexus fits in. It enables leadership to “see” what is going on whenever and where ever they want, a feat nearly impossible in a paper-based or excel-based system. KaiNexus allows a CEO to drill down to a granular level, revealing why a suggestion was handled the way it was thus making everyone accountable not only to do something but to make sure what is done was the “right” thing. Insightful comment, Kevin, thanks.

    • Thanks, Kevin. I’ll be in touch via email. We’ve heard from many people that KaiNexus is applicable outside of healthcare. We have our first manufacturing-centric demo available, so maybe we can show that to you for feedback.


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