In the world of manufacturing, we often search for “game-changers” – new products, capabilities, customers, talent that can propel the business forward. Conversely, we also employ the Japanese concept of “kaizen” – continuous, small improvements, to achieve operational excellence.
I’ve found it helpful to study the ideas and methods described in a series of papers listed below, that have to do with Environment Shaping, or SHAPE, even though they do not specifically address the domain of manufacturing. These papers have helped me understand how to leverage local assets by engaging the people who do the work – building from current knowledge, skills and practices, and engaging the local team in asset identification, solution ideation, process experiments, feedback loops, design refinements, and deployment. Throughout the process, we aim to increase the group’s capacity for collective problem solving and coherent action – so they can build and deliver quality products and services on budget and on time.