Continuous innovation - Combining Toyota Kata and TRIZ for sustained innovation

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Companies are facing increasingly tough competition in the global economy. Previously sustainable competitive advantage strategies are insufficient in the changed market conditions. The only sustainable advantage is continuous innovation at a faster pace than rival organizations. This requires a systematic approach to innovation and engaging staff on all levels to effectively take part in the innovation efforts. Toyota Kata is a proven and highly successful method for continuous improvement at the whole organization level. Toyota Kata was discovered by Mike Rother while he researched Toyota's quality improvement methods. It is a holistic system method for improvement efforts which contains processes and behavioral patterns for strategically aligned goal setting, problem solving, coaching, management and training. It is a simple and teachable approach which also covers the management of improvement efforts. The downside of the approach is its focus on incremental improvement instead of breakthrough innovation. The approach can be improved by adding TRIZ techniques like contradiction analyses, FAA, inventive principles and trends of evolution to various parts of the method. This approach will allow to keep the benefits of the Toyota Kata approach while changing the focus from incremental improvement to true innovation. The combined approach is also better suited for the more complex problems of today's knowledge workers. Toyota Kata can also be used as method for introducing and training TRIZ to the organization in an effective and incremental way. The combined method for continuous innovation can be further improved with the Lean Startup methods to validate the solutions. The Lean Startup experimentation approach is geared to design quick and inexpensive approaches for the market validations of service, management and software innovations.




Toivonen, T. (2015). Continuous innovation - Combining Toyota Kata and TRIZ for sustained innovation. In Procedia Engineering (Vol. 131, pp. 963–974). Elsevier Ltd.

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