Toyota Kata first came to prominence with Mike Rother’s book in 2009, but its adoption in UK organisations (even those who can demonstrate considerable Lean pedigree) appears to be low, though evidence suggests it has been more successful in northern mainland Europe.
Kata’s success hinges on a leader’s ability to coach teams towards a Target Condition for improvement; with considerable trust being put into the teams’ ability to rapidly iterate through experiments to learn more about a problem. This requires leaders to create conditions where controlled ‘trial and error’ experiments are accepted, where admission that ‘we don’t know the answer’ is not seen as weakness, and where a culture exists of a ‘Learning Organisation’.
This project seeks to understand why the adoption of Kata in UK and European enterprises is low ans seeks to develop a greater understanding of the inhibitors and enablers affecting its more widespread deployment.
In support of the above theme, the following research questions are proposed.
- What are the ‘barriers’ to Toyota Kata’s adoption in organisations? Are you using it? If not, why not?
- What are the critical factors that need to be present in an organisation for Kata to be successful?
- Are those enterprises currently using Kata finding that it is more effective than previous attempts at deploying Lean principles? And if so, why?
- How should Kata be positioned in a wider framework of Lean tools? Is there overlap / conflict with other approaches? How best should this be resolved to avoid confusion?
Supplementary questions that could be incorporated include:
- How effective are your organisation’s efforts at improvement and problem-solving, particularly in terms of ‘complex’ problems?
- How well do you think your organisation ‘learns from mistakes’?
- Does your organisation’s culture allow for you (and your teams) to run controlled ‘trial and error’ experiments, to work towards understanding underlying causes of problems?
- What, in your opinion, are the biggest barriers to adopting a ‘learning from mistakes’ approach? (Some interesting qualitative results for this one! Blame culture..)
TBA, though it is expected that some research data would be collected through a survey.