Six Sigma, Kaizen, Lean, and other variations on continuous improvement can be hazardous to your organization’s health. While it may be heresy to say this, recent evidence from Japan and elsewhere suggests that it’s time to question these methods.
Admittedly, continuous improvement once powered Japan’s economy. Japanese manufacturers in the 1950s had a reputation for poor quality, but through a culture of analytical and systematic change Japan was able to go from worst to first. Starting in the 1970s, the country’s ability to create low-cost, quality products helped them dominate key industries, such as automobiles, telecommunications, and consumer electronics. To compete with this miraculous turnaround, Western companies, starting with Motorola, began to adopt Japanese methods. Now, almost every large Western company, and many smaller ones, advocate for continuous improvement.
But what’s happened in Japan? In the past year Japan’s major electronics firms have lost an aggregated $21 billion and have been routinely displaced by competitors from China, South Korea, and elsewhere. As Fujio Ando, senior managing director at Chibagin Asset Management suggests, “Japan’s consumer electronics industry is facing defeat. “Similarly, Japan’s automobile industry has been plagued by a series of embarrassing quality problems and recalls, and has lost market share to companies from South Korea and even (gasp!) the United States. Sigue leyendo
A personality expert talks character and destiny.
by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Ph.D.
So far, psychologists have failed to explain why some people are more entrepreneurial than others, but the answer is straightforward: personality. Indeed, individual differences in creativity, ambition, and risk-taking explain why some people have much more potential for entrepreneurship than others, and valid personality measures can help us identify who the entrepreneurs of tomorrow will be. Of course, there are also socio-political factors contributing to entrepreneurship, which is why it is a lot harder to be entrepreneurial in North than in South Korea, or why unemployment may actually foster entrepreneurship. Still, in any country at any given point of time there will be more and less entrepreneurial people and a country’s economic and social development is much more dependent on the former. Sigue leyendo
Earlier this week, I participated in a fascinating series of discussions at The Economist magazine’s summit called “The Ideas Economy: Human Potential – When the world grows up”. I came away with the realization that we’re not tapping into even a tiny fraction of the potential that human beings have. Additionally, we have a unique opportunity, today, to leverage the entire world’s talent. In Silicon Valley, in particular, ideas are the currency that matter, and these are the keys to innovation and economic success. Knowledge creation has globalized and there is a fierce race underway for talent. We can fear this all we want, but we have a choice: raise protectionist barriers and lose the race, or recognize the new reality and take advantage of the opportunities for collaboration and innovation. Sigue leyendo
This world-map image from SE Feng Shui illustrates the market share of Google in different countries across the world.
The color red indicates that the market share is higher than 90% while Google has less than 50% market share in countries that are highlighted in grey. Sigue leyendo