Improve: The Next Generation of Continuous Improvement for Knowledge Work presents lean thinking for professionals, those who Peter Drucker called knowledge workers. It translates the brilliant insights from Toyota's factory floor to the desktops of engineers, marketers, attorneys, accountants, doctors, managers, and all those who think for a living. The Toyota Production System (TPS) was born a century ago to an almost unknown car maker who today is credited with starting the third wave of the Industrial Revolution. TPS principles, better known as lean thinking or continuous improvement, are simple: increase customer value, cut hidden waste, experiment to learn, and respect others. As simple as they are, they are difficult to apply to the professions, probably because of the misconception that knowledge work is wholly non-repetitive. But much of our everyday work does repeat, and in great volume: approvals, problem-solving, project management, hiring, and prioritization are places where huge waste hides. Eliminate waste and you delight customers and clients, increase financial performance, and grow professional job satisfaction, because less waste means more success and more time for expertise and creativity.
This book is a valuable resource for leaders of professional teams who want to improve productivity, quality, and engagement in their organizations.