By Landon Tymichko via Iris.xyz

Kaizen (改善): Japanese for “change for better“. 

I am a Black Belt. Not the Bruce Lee, or Tai Kwan Do kind, but the Lean Six Sigma type. If you’re confused, it’s probably because you haven’t yet heard of the practice of Lean Thinking.

However, you probably experience some form of it almost daily. For example, if you’ve ever bought a product from Amazon, General Electric, or Toyota, then Lean Thinking is at the core of the products they make, and the customer experience you have with them.

So, what is Lean? And why should you care about Lean, you ask? Let’s answer those questions in order.  Per the Lean Enterprise Institute, “The core idea is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste.  Simply put, Lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources.”

“Whoa, wait a minute, I’ve heard this before,” you say. That’s just corporate speak for ‘headcount reduction’ and ‘budget cuts.’  Unfortunately, that’s usually the first reaction, but it’s a huge misconception.

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