Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why the best, so far, is not good enough

Many of you have heard of “kaizen” (改善), a Japanese word that refers to a philosophy that emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement. The idea is one very familiar to our people at the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence. They are recognized around the world for helping organizations achieve operational excellence by implementing the principles of “kaizen.”

The idea of finding a way to improve everything you do is not a unique philosophy to the Shingo Prize, however. Anyone in a competitive industry knows that a company that does not constantly evolve and improve is likely to have a short lifespan.

Ken Snyder
There are just five architectural firms still in the running to lead the work on our new building. I made it clear from the start that we wanted to hire a team that had experience designing buildings for business schools or a firm that could partner with such a company when it works on our project.

However, we want something better than their best so far. It’s second nature for our students to try to consistently improve in everything they do. When it comes to our building we must do the same. We’ll pick a top firm and we’ll make it a priority to help it succeed in creating the best building it has ever designed.

If we do our job right and they do their job better, we’ll have a tangible example of “kaizen” in our new Huntsman Hall. This all goes beyond creating an impressive new building with the newest amenities. We want to make sure that what goes on inside the new structure will reflect the progressive philosophy that created it. It will be up to us to put the “kaizen” inside the building.

Ken Snyder

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