Sustainable Growth Strategies:


Kaizen and Radical Innovation

Synergy of Breakthrough Innovation and Continuous Improvement

By: Vadim Kotelnikov

Founder, Ten3 Business e-Coach Inspiration and Innovation Unlimited!


"In today's competitive business environment, any delay in adopting the latest technology is costly. Delays in adopting improved management techniques are no less costly." ~ Masaaki Imai

Continuous Improvement Quotes



Kaizen and Radical Innovation New Product Development Synergy Sustainabe Competitive Advantage US ans Japanese Firms Radical Innovation Kaizen Continuous Improvement Firm (CIF) Radical vs. Incremental Innovation Kaizen Radical Innovation New Product Design Technology Innovation Lean Production Kaizen and Radical Innovation

Kaizen and Kaikaku

  • Kaizen is evolutionary, focused on incremental improvements.

  • Kaikaku is revolutionary, focused on radical improvements


Kaikaku and Kaizen Kaizen Kaizen Mindset 10 Kaikaku Commandments 10 Kaikaku Commandments Kaikaku and Kaizen


Two Approaches To Progress and Innovation

  1. The gradualist approach (favored by Japanese companies):

  2. The great-leap-forward approach (favored by Western companies)

Competitive Advantage: USA vs. Japan


U.S. and Japanese companies use quite different manufacturing and market leadership strategies.

Comparative strengths and advantage of U.S. and Japanese firms are:

  • United States where markets and technologies undergo constant and rapid changes

  • Japan where technologies are relatively stable and making incremental improvements is the basis for advantage...

The motto of U.S. firms: "It's not the big that eat the small... it's the fast that eat the slow." ( a book by Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton)

The motto of Japanese firms: "O snail, climb Mount Fuji with no hurry." (a haiku by Issa)... More

Competitive Strategies: 2 Types

Kaizen Japanese Strategy of Continuous Improvement

Kaizen means "improvement". Kaizen strategy calls for never-ending efforts for improvement involving everyone in the organization managers and workers alike.

Kaizen Mindset

Kaizen is an integral part of corporate culture. It requires continuous both conscious and sub-conscious thinking about improvements from everyone. Nurturing and effectively integrating Kaizen into corporate culture is not easy. It requires a sustained effort. But, as Toyota has demonstrated, it offers a more sustainable competitive advantage... More

Toyota Production System (TPS)

Implementation of Kaizen Strategy: 7 Conditions

One of the most difficult aspects of introducing and implementing Kaizen strategy is assuring its continuity.

When a company introduces something new, such as quality circles, or total quality management (TQM), it experiences some initial success, but soon such success disappear like fireworks on summer night and after a while nothing is left, and management keeps looking for a new flavor of the month.

Areas Targeted by TQM in Japan


This if because the company lacks the first three most important conditions for the successful introduction and implementation of Kaizen strategy... More

Kaikaku and Kaizen

Kaikaku is breakthrough rapid improvement, radical improvement of any activity, in particular to remove waste (or 'muda'). Kaikaku is also known as Breakthrough Kaizen, Kaizen Blitz, Flow Kaizen and System Kaizen. Kaikaku is about large rapid improvement, similar to radical innovation, though innovation is not necessary for Kaikaku.

Kaikaku is sought in addition to Kaizen, not in place of Kaizen. Kaikaku is a rapid change event as opposed to Kaizen which is smaller incremental improvements. Kaikaku is revolutionary while Kaizen is evolutionary. When approaching a problem situation, it might require radical improvement to start with (Kaikaku), then be continuously improved (Kaizen).

Kaizen Mindset

  • Not a single day should go by without some kind of improvement being made somewhere in the company... More

Thinking Creatively

The Japanese success in world markets was focused less on products innovation than on innovative productivity and marketing. Creative thinking led to small, but highly powerful, improvements.

Yin-Yang of Entrepreneurial Creativity

Case in Point  Canon Production System (CPS)

Canon employees are offering around 50 improvement ideas per year per employee.

In some Canon plants, the foremen are told to set aside the half-hour as Kaizen time time to do nothing but thinking improvement in the workshop. The foremen use this period to identify problems and work on Kaizen programs.

Each Canon employee receives a 55-page pocket-size CPS Notebook that explains the CPS, how to get Kaizen targets, and the award system. These CPS Notebooks also have special pages entitled "My Self-Development Goals Method, Tools, and Investment" to be filled in by the worker... More




  1. Kaizen: The Key To Japan's Competitive Success, Masaaki Imai

  2. Kaikaku: The Power and Magic of Lean, Norman Bodek

  3. A Team Leader's Guide to Lean Kaizen, William Wes Waldo and Tom Jones

  4. Deming's 14 Point Plan for TQM

  5. The Toyota Way: 14 Principles

  6. 14 Slogans for TQM at Pentel, Japan

  7. Five Ss at Canon

Quick and Easy Kaizen

Kaizen Mindset

Japanese-style Suggestion System

9 Waste Categories and 6 Guidelines of the Canon's Suggestion System

Lean Production

13 Tips for Transitioning Your Company To a Lean Enterprise

7 Principles of Toyota Production System (TPS)

5 Elements of Enabling a Lean Approach

10 Commandments of Improvement

Quality Management

8 Rules for Quality Management

Kaizen and Total Quality Management


Innovation Is Love

4 Categories of Innovation

Radical Innovation

Radical  Innovation vs, Incremental Innovation

Deciding If Your Innovation Portfolio Has Enough Stretch

3 Criteria To Assess Your Innovation Portfolio

Creating a Culture for Innovation

29 Obstacles To Innovation

Strategies for Building a Growth Culture

Developing the Fast-paced Flexible Culture

How To Transform Your Business Into an Innovative and Creative Culture