Lean is Green not Mean

Lean is Green not mean … But ‘Kaikaku’ is radical man!

Kaizen v Kaikaku


Respect For The Planet


If anyone reads any of my rantz, a common theme in my thinking is ‘Respect for people and the planet’, the ‘Planet’ side of lean is both green and sustainable.

But before we go any further, I have to point out … I have about as much interest in the politics of politician’s, sustainable green campaigning and religious evangelism as I have in sports, ballroom dancing and fidget spinners … I just happen to love problem solving.  Sometimes these problems include ensuring politicians just-do-it,  green advocates get real, religious services get delivered, sports get funded, ballrooms get patrons and my kids get engaged.


I have a small problem with big problems, I love them … I love the challenge of dreaming up solutions for impossible problems.  But when it comes to lean and green, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for paper bags, bottle banks, electric cars and wind power.  I just don’t think we (as a global community) are really thinking big and radically enough to have a serious impact on a really big global problem.


Thinking about lean change and transformation in terms of ‘Kaizen’ and ‘Kaikaku’ when it comes to improving the status quo … often the scale of our improvement thinking can be measured in terms of ‘Kaizen’ (small / large change) thinking where are ‘Kaikaku’ (Reform / Innovative) thinking is needed to bring about more radical transformation.  ‘Kaikaku’ sets us free to be radical! and forces us to think big!


During workshops, coaching, meetings or training sessions, I keep a handy tool in my toolbox which I love to inject to gamify bigger conversation.  I borrowed this idea from Paul Sloane’s book ‘The Innovative Leader’ (2007) when I realised I needed to break out of group think and into a more desirable mental state free of constraints.


Lets Kill The Company!!!

In his book, Paul asked a really simple question that could trigger transformational answers …

“If asked to kill your own company and start from scratch, what (if anything) of the old company would you bring with you, leave behind or change in your new company?”.  This question frees us to think big about a radically new world of ideas.


So what big problem has captured my radical thinking?


I would first need to ‘Walk The Gemba’ (Go to the place of work) and observe and document in a ‘Motion Map’ (aka spaghetti diagram) to represent the movement of workers through our global cell. Due to the scale of the planet, I chose instead a more modest lean approach and avoided duplication by using what was already available to me.  Despite my desire to walk the earth as Kwai Chang Caine in ‘Kung Fu’ did, I would be forced to settle with letting the nice people at PlaneFinder.net and MarineTraffic.com create my ‘Motion Map’ for me.  What you see here is a snap shot of a given moment in global transport that represents a single second in time rather than the lapse time period of an entire day which really dramatically under represents the true daily global traffic.


A seriously big global problem of big pollution and waste by big transport … Planes, Trains and Auto-mobiles … Trucks and Ships

Lean ‘Kaizen’ thinking would introduce ‘Inventory & Cost Reductions’, ‘Added Customer Value’, ‘Single Piece Flow’ and decrease ‘Cycle Times’ to improve the planet.

By removing the waste and complexity and eliminating the replication and reducing travel times, we have a simple but major impact on emissions while reducing our fuel consumption and business costs simultaneously with improving global health and progressing closer to resolving our planetary problems.  So what radical thinking is required to remove the surplus duplication, reduce the motion and decrease the travel times?

A Global Problem Worth Fixing!

If you want to reduce energy, pollution and waste at a global scale then ‘Kaikaku’ radical new thinking that thinks big could have the greatest global impacts.  Take a closer look at the our global ‘Motion Map’ and consider … if you dare … what radical innovative solutions maybe practically possible!


First lets kill big transport and imagine a planet transformed … only bring with us what is best, transformative and radical.  What will grant us the greatest positive impact in practical terms to transform our new planet with a new transport system that could sustain the planet.


Now … you could be forgiven for thinking this is all pie-in-the-sky, well think again because some of the most iconic big thinkers of our time are radically thinking about the same big problems and they have the money to realise the greatest global impact, for example:


Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic – Click Here!

Elon Musk’s Space-X & Hyperloop – Click Here! & Here!

Virgin Earth Finalist Climeworks  – Click Here!


Hyperloop is thinking big by doing in 50mins what planes do in 5 Hours 20 Mins! … “That’s Radical Man”

Blending & tailoring such technologies could mean, whatever we are willing to imagine, we may have the technology to ‘Kill Todays Global Problems’.  Green lean asks us to reduce global waste and respect the planet.  ‘Kaikaku’ asks us to go further than just ‘Kaizen’ thinking and think radically, think big … and you don’t get much bigger than planetary problems that require global solutions.

Think radical man!

Just my 2 cents …


<<< Extras! >>>

Its also important to note the vital role creating the sense of urgency and the value of ‘failure is not an option’ plays in Kaikaku.  An example of radical thinking with urgency and criticality of suspending mental barriers to radical thinking was never so obvious as it was when returning Apollo 13 to earth when failure was not an option.

Also See:

Failure is not an option – Click Here!

Gene Kranz Explains why failure was not an option (Min: 33:50) – Click Here!



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