Kaizen: Much stronger if gamified

Team Gametize
Gametize Academy
It all started in Japan, right after WW2, when Americans where helping the country to reconstruct itself.
The Japanese word ”kaizen” means “improvement” or “change for the best,“ and has become integral part of Total Quality Management and showcased in Deming PrizeToyota’s success in large part rests with seamless integration of kaizen methodologies all along its production/manufacturing/R&D. Recently, a new term, kaikaku, was introduced to signify reform or innovate and came to mean big change. However, it is clear that even big, breakthrough innovations/products are usually resulting from smaller kaizen initiatives all along the chain or process. And if you come to think of it, most of breakthrough and disruptive innovations of our age resulted in large part from systematic, serendipitous, continuous and small bottom-up improvements, or kaizen.
Source: LeanSmart
While kaizen was initially introduced and still practiced largely as a practical philosophy/methodology that focuses on continuous improvement of business/manufacturing/R&D processes, it has also found much application and popularization through popular books such as One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Wayand via speeches and posts of motivational speakers like Anthony Robbins. This enlightening post brings further personal perspective on how to apply it individually and has a very valid argument why kaizen works.

The Kaizen Model​

The Kaizen model works better on long-term than short-term based on much research on motivational and change studies over last two decades that concludes that people (as well as organizations) resist changes, and especially extreme ones.
Source: Wikipedia
A recent, more modern management practice incorporating kaizen is PDCA (plan-do-check-adjust), which neatly reflects kaizen’s simple logical frame:
  • Standardize operations/activities,
  • Measure operations/activities
  • Gauge measurements against requirements
  • Innovate/problem-solve to meet requirements and increase productivity
  • Standardize resulting new/improved operations
  • Continue cycle ad infinitum
Now, if we add gamification to PDCA, the results would not only be long-term but the process will become more fun too. This combined system can (and is successfully) applied both on corporate (business innovation, new product/service development) and personal (changing old/getting new habits, learning new skills, etc.) levels.
Now, if we add gamification to PDCA, the results would not only be long-term but the process will become more fun too. This combined system can (and is successfully) applied both on corporate (business innovation, new product/service development) and personal (changing old/getting new habits, learning new skills, etc.) levels.
PDCA Gamification Elements
Plan
• Define Objectives and Success Metrics
• Define constraints, narrative, relationships, create challenges
Do
• Call-to-action, competitions, collect points, badges, quizzes, feedback loops, unlock new content/levels, resource acquisition, transactions, quests
Check
• Progress bars, leaderboard, compare points, Success Metrics, rewards, social graph
Adjust/Act
• Adjust Success Metrics, Objectives, narrative
• unlock new level/contents, redesign process
Published on 8 April, 2014
Revised 11 March, 2020

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