The Japanese people have a word they know as kaizen, which means ‘change for the better’, or ‘good change’. Over the years, the business world has adopted and evolved this word to mean the implementing of a mindset/process of continual improvement.
“Kaizen is a daily process, the purpose of which goes beyond simple productivity improvement. It is also a process that, when done correctly, humanises the workplace, eliminates overly hard work (“muri”), and teaches people how to learn to spot and eliminate waste in business processes.” (Wikipedia)
Over the past 60 years, many international businesses (Toyota famously being one of them) have adopted this philosophy with outstanding results. The idea of continual improvement is also a valuable one for every designer to embrace.
Your design career is a journey full of different experiences and learning. You will come across new ideas; have successes; make mistakes; and discover better, faster, easier ways of working.
Think of all the systems, processes, and techniques that you use every single day — by yourself, and with your team, suppliers and clients. A kaizen mindset says that even the best ideas can be improved upon; that you are actively looking for ways to make your systems and processes better; and that you are willing to make whatever changes are necessary.
If you are humble enough and open enough to embrace the kaizen philosophy, that could be just the thing that helps you to hone your skills and make your career (and your agency) the best it can be.
Sarah Ritchie has been in the design and agency world for 25 years. Originally a graphic designer, Sarah has also worked as a design teacher, agency account manager, and now enjoys a wonderful life in recruitment for agencies. Sarah is also the Founder of AM-Insider — a website full of tips, tricks and resources to build agency account management superstars!
Photo by Galen Crout on Unsplash