A Japanese Philosophy for Continuous Development and Improvement: Kaizen

We examined the Kaizen philosophy for you, a technique that spreads from Japan all over the world and is sure to achieve sustainable success.

 In our daily lives, we encounter many problems, many events that create chaos. Sometimes these difficulties and emotional transformations can affect our motivation. In addition, facts such as the ease and social media addiction provided by the digital age can cause us to lose our focus and to deviate from our goals.

However, by becoming acquainted with the ‘Kaizen philosophy’, which is very popular in Japan, you can direct yourself to continuously improve your professional life, works and social relationships. In this article, we will examine the Kaizen philosophy that has spread from Japan to the world.

What is Kaizen?

Kaizen is a combination of Japanese words that 'kai' meaning 'change' and 'zen' meaning 'better'. This philosophy, which has been a part of Japanese culture for thousands of years, stands out as the building block of Japan's economic rise after World War 2.

With this philosophy, which has the meaning of continuous improvement and development, it is possible to transform your life in every field. Thanks to this philosophy, which focuses not on results but on processes, Japan has reached very high standards, especially in business life.

In this way of thinking, where the approach to human is very important, a human is not treated as one of the causes of the problem but as an element to solve it. The Kaizen philosophy which rejects individuality emphasizes that the secret of success and production in business life also comes from being a team.

What Does Kaizen Philosophy Cover In Business?

The main issue for Kaizen is the problems encountered. Kaizen philosophy sees the problem as a means of development and argues that where there is no problem, there is no progress. If we take the labor markets in general, Kaizen's ideas include the following:

●Recommender system

●Total quality control

●Customer orientation

●Quality circle


●Quality improvement

●Zero or minimum error operating principle

●Keeping productivity at maximum

●Instant solution and development

●Small group activities

Application Process of Kaizen Philosophy: Limiting Development

The implementation process of this principle of thinking which focuses on processes and works towards increasing customer satisfaction consists of 4 main steps.


In the planning step, the available resources are defined, the target and priority are determined, and the road map of the process is drawn. In Kaizen philosophy, the problems in the current system are seen as necessary for the continuity of development rather than as an obstacle and minor changes are made on them that will benefit in the long term. The primary goal of these small changes is to reduce production costs.


At this stage, the improvement works determined in the planning step are fully implemented. The data is collected at each step and in the event of the planned improvement works are not performed, it is returned to the first stage.


At this stage of the Kaizen process, it is checked how close you are to the target and whether there is any deviation from the target. If the deviations between the facts and the targets are within the predetermined limits the process is continued, but if the deviation is more than expected, and then you go back to the planning stage. In addition, the amount of improvement is necessarily reported.

Taking precautions

It should be made sure that the improvement is permanent when the final stage is passed. The measures taken should become standard and be applied to the whole structure. To ensure this, every employee within the organization needs to be trained, informed and fully monitored. If deemed necessary, checkpoints can be added to the process to ensure continuity of improvement.

The Basis of Continuous Development: Investing in People and Savings

Continuous improvement is based on implementation, development and standardization processes. According to Kaizen philosophy, there is a metamorphosis and transformation in classical development. According to this way of thinking, this is the basis of the fallacy that Western approaches and systems have fallen. The main element that constitutes the superiority in this way of thinking is human, and the benefits of kaizen philosophy are hidden in people's savings. For this reason, continuous development can only be realized through investment in people and savings.

19.12.2019 - Culture and Art
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