Process improvement

for knowledge workers


Incremental (Kaizen) and Exponential (Kaikaku) improvement

Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning “change for better”.  It is closely associated with continuous improvement. We can also think of Kaizen as continuously thinking smarter instead of working harder.

Kaizen is a great philosophy because anyone in any position can implement it.  As leaders, our job is to help employees see how small, ongoing positive changes can reap major improvements.

Kaikaku, on the other hand, is the Japanese word for “radical change”.  This is much more difficult for an individual employee to implement because there is greater disruption.  Kaikaku improves processes in leaps and bounds, while Kaizen is gradual and has more continuity.

Both are important forms of process improvement.

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ScaleYOU collaborates with organizations to guide them through incremental and exponential improvement processes.  What makes our methodology unique is the inclusiveness aspect to our training. Rather than showing up as the “expert”, we prefer to be facilitators for potential experts.

For knowledge workers, education is a life-long pursuit.  Working side-by-side with your employees, we impart not only knowledge but how to communicate that knowledge to others on the team.

What is knowledge work?

We characterize knowledge work as the finding, creating, packaging, applying and reusing of knowledge.  Most often, knowledge workers are dependent on computers and other digital devices; and therefore when we talk about improving their processes we are mainly speaking of digital interactions.  Having said that, physical interactions are surely interwoven in knowledge worker processes, so we, by no means, exclude those types of transactions when we analyse, improve, test and implement knowledge worker processes.

Every organization is ready for some amount of change. The question is how much and how fast.

Preparation and training for incremental 1-2X improvements, while somewhat more economical and less risky in the short run are often preferred over more radical projects where the benefits can be 10X or more.  One is not necessarily better than the other since the real determining factor is the amount of resistance that would potentially make or break the project; though it would be hoped that incremental projects sow seeds for faster moving and more ambitious improvements.

Ideally, determining change readiness would be a collaborative effort between Atrendia and our partner since it is difficult, if not impossible for a company to escape expectation and status-quo biases when carrying out investigations on their own.


Among the tools we use and educate employees in are:

– A3 training
– Mind mapping
– 5 Whys
– 7 Wastes
– Pareto Principle

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