Evolution of KAIZEN™

KAIZEN™ Methodology Development History

The KAIZEN™ methodology has been gradually developed over many decades. It was publically and officially introduced to the world in the 1980’s as a systematic methodology through the best selling book "KAIZEN™" by Masaaki Imai, the founder of Kaizen Institute.

Masaaki Imai

Masaaki Imai is born in Tokyo, Japan.

The first domestic automotive production is planned in Japan and the Just-In-Time concept is observed.

Masaaki Imai

World War II to post war economic reform period in Japan.


Imai works at the Japan Productivity Center in the USA and accompanies Japanese executives to visit and learn from US manufacturers.

Japanese companies gain strength in their quality and world wide competitiveness.


Imai works with Shoichiro Toyoda to observe the American way of business.

Masaaki Imai

Imai works internationally with Taiichi Ohno to spread the message of the Toyota Production System (TPS).

Masaaki Imai

KAIZEN™ is introduced to the world for the first time, as a systematic management methodology.


KAIZEN™ appears for the first time as a word in the Oxford dictionary.

The term Lean was coined.

Masaaki Imai

Lean concepts are promoted through Various publications, to include Imai’s GEMBAKAIZEN™ book.

Tools, such as Six Sigma, gain popularity though clouding the importance of a systematic approach.

Kaizen Institute continues to offer practical, hands-on methods that fit the local culture and business practice, when implementing KAIZEN™ within organizations.


KAIZEN™ Management System (KMS) is developed, to help companies to improve based on a systematic QCD Model.

KAIZEN™ Change Model (KCM) is added to enhance a KAIZEN™ culture, mind-set and behaviours of the organization.

Many corporations start developing their own Improvement Strategies based on KAIZEN™, seeking to gain sustainable improvements and a competitive advantage within their markets.


KAIZEN™ Business System (KBS) supports organizations to achieve Continuous Improvement and sustanaible growth.

Kaizen Institute continues to spear-head global development for the KAIZEN™ methodology, bringing awareness to Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday.

  arrow history

KAIZEN™ has been evolving since its foundation

  • 1950-1980: Companywide KAIZEN™ efforts started in Japan with the Quality Movement
  • 1980-2010: Toyota perfected the Toyota Production System (TPS) and the term Lean was born
  • 2010-2020: The TPS was very powerful but it demanded strong leadership, thus arose the concept of Lean Transformation
  • +2020: KAIZEN™ did not stop and companies like Toyota and Danaher expanded Lean to all Growth areas
  • kaizen-lean-evolution-industrialisation-digital

The fourth generation of KAIZEN™ aims to deliver and drive Profitable Growth by expanding Operational Excellence to Business Excellence. The Enterprise Business System was born out of KAIZEN™ 4.0.

Most Lean Systems fail to deliver Profitable Growth

Reasons why it is hard to be Lean and Grow at the same time


The Rules of the Game are harder

The world is in continuous change and the life span of organisations is going down.

See why

Most Lean Transformations fail

Implementing an Improvement Culture is not easy. It requires focus, know-how and persistence.

See why

Growth isn't always Profitable

How important is Revenue Growth (organic and external) in driving Overall Shareholder Value?

See why

Sustained High Growth is Hard!

Sustained Growth is a challenge that few companies can handle.

See why

Expanding Lean to Growth

Many companies are implementing Lean Systems to achieve Operational Efficiency and build an Improvement Culture

But few use KAIZEN™ as a competitive weapon to drive Sustainable Profitable Growth

KAIZEN™ has a huge impact on P&L and Balance Sheets

Your Performance will hit a Winning Streak

ROCE-kaizen-lean growth improvement productivity excellence

Read the article about the impact of KAIZEN™ on company performance:

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