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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Kaizen in Schools

Kaizen is Japanese for Good Change and advocates a philosophy of continuous improvement in everything that you do.  I first came across Kaizen when my husband introduced me to it, he had heard about it from a friend who works at Toyota.  The philosophy of Kaizen is to properly evaluate innovation so as it may continue to evolve and improve.

Some of the positive things of Kaizen are that can be applied to a School Library are:

  • Employees are more satisfied – through the evaluative process they feel that they have a direct impact on the way things are done and the direction of the Library
  • Improved commitment – team members have more of a stake in their job and are more inclined to commit to doing a good job as they know they will be evaluated regularly.
  • Improved retention – satisfied and engaged people are more likely to stay at an organisation.
  • Improved consumer satisfaction – Kaizen can be used to prove an increase in service levels and a strategy for problem solving. 
  • Improved problem solving – looking at Library processes from a solutions perspective allows employees to solve problems continuously. There is an expectation that a bad process will be refined out of the organization.
  • Improved teams – working together to solve problems helps build and strengthen existing teams.

Often within organisations we can implement an idea but never evaluate it to see whether it has actually worked. Kaizen advocates that when you plan the event, you also plan to evaluate (Vocoli, 2014). I like this idea.


Muhammad Asif , Henk J. de Vries & Niaz Ahmad (2013) Knowledge creation
through quality management, Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 24:5-6, 664-677,
DOI: 10.1080/14783363.2013.791097

Vocoli (2014). How to Start a Culture of Continuous Improvement [website] Retrieved from:

Wiljeana J. Glover, Wen‐Hsing Liu, Jennifer A. Farris, Eileen M. Van Aken, (2013) "Characteristics of established kaizen event programs: an empirical study", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 33 Iss: 9, pp.1166 - 1201 

Wiser, J. (2005) Kaizen Meets Dewey: Applying the Principles of the Toyota Way in Your Library. Toronto Conference. Special Libraries Association.

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