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29[1].01.ElegantSolutions

29[1].01.ElegantSolutions

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05/09/2014

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E\ue001egant S\ue000lu\ue002ions
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Br ea kt hr ou gh th ink ing th e toyota Way
by Matthew E. May
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Behind each o\ue000 the over one million
ideas implemented at Toyota every
year is a mind\ue000ul approach to innova\u00ad
tive work driven by a companywide
war on imper\ue000ection coupled with a
disciplined creative methodology.

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O\ue005e Mi\ue004\ue004io\ue005.

That\u2019s how many ideas Toyota implements each year. Do the math: 3000 ideas a day. That number, more than anything else, explains why Toyota appears to be in a league all their own, playing o\ue000ense on a \ue001eld of innovation, while their competitors remain caught in a cross\ue001re of cost-cutting.

Here\u2019s the thing: it\u2019s not about the cars. It\u2019s about ideas. And the people with those ideas. But
not just any ideas. Mostly tiny ones, but e\ue000ective ones nonetheless\u2014elegant solutions to real
world problems. Not grand slam homeruns, but groundball singles implemented all across
the company by associates that view their role not to be simply doing the work, but taking it
to the next level\u2026every day, in some little way. Good enough never is. When an entire
organization thinks like that, it becomes unstoppable.

Like a number of other market leaders, Toyota recognizes that companywide innovation is a
matter of assembling a group of talented people in an environment where innovation is
required by everyone at every level. To create that environment, Toyota employs systems and
structures that neutralize the typical barriers to ingenuity and release individuals to realize
signi\ue001cance through their work.

The cumulative e\ue000ect is astounding: Toyota has a market value worth nearly as much as all
the other carmakers combined. What\u2019s di\ue003cult to understand, though, is what Toyota
associates have known all along: their vaunted automobiles and assembly techniques are
simply visible outcomes, the direct result of a hidden process much closer to the bedrock of
human creativity and interaction.

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