Toyota Kata Resources

The Toyota Kata framework turns scientific thinking into a practical skill anyone, and any organization, can learn through the deliberate practice of a four step learning and discovery process.

Toyota Kata - Practice Makes Progress

As part of our growing School of Lean library of courses, Toyota Kata - Practice Makes Progress, will guide you from the very beginning of Kata learning to being able to implement your own Kata experiments within a few days.

In the course you will learn how to make lasting change, and where to start making improvements.

How Do You Get Started with Toyota Kata?

Some wrongly believe that Toyota Kata is a problem solving methodology. And while kata routines often result in improvements, the true purpose of the kata thinking system is to:

  1. Discover
  2. Learn
  3. Innovate

Albert Einstein once said, “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” This quote beautifully summarizes what Toyota Kata practitioners call the “Improvement Kata.”

The Improvement Kata follows an easy to learn, but difficult to master, 4-step learning process.

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What is the 4 Step Improvement Kata Process?

  1. Understand the direction or challenge: In this first step we determine the problem we are trying to solve.
  2. Grasp the current condition: Once we define the challenge, we need to understand not only what we know to be true now, and also what we do not yet know. Put another way, we attempt to deeply understand the current condition.
  3. Establish the next target condition: Using an American football analogy, if the "challenge" is to score a touchdown...the target condition may very well be to get a first down. In other words, the target condition brings us one step closer to the challenge.
  4. Experiment against obstacles: Once a target condition is established, we then identify the obstacles in our way. These obstacles allow us to define, and run experiments against them in order to learn what works, and what doesn't.
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How Do You Teach the Improvement Kata?

One thing athletes have in common with those learning the Improvement Kata is that both need a good coach.

More importantly, Kata Coaches need to have a consistent routine for teaching the Improvement Kata. This routine is clearly defined with the Coaching Kata.

The Kata coach uses five coaching questions during each coaching cycle. The learner responds to these questions by sharing what they have learned since the last coaching session. Coaching sessions usually last around 10 minutes and need to happen on a regular, often daily, basis.

Kata Podcasts

Our free Kata podcasts provide real world insights into practicing Kata.

Leveraging the Toyota Kata Approach to Learning & Coaching with Michael Lombard

Hear from Michael Lombard on how his hospital leverages Kata for learning and coaching.

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How to Leverage Toyota Kata with Brandon Brown

Consultant Brandon Brown shares his knowledge of Kata, and how it compliments TWI.

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How to Use Kata to Create Service Excellence with Karyn Ross

Author and lean practitioner Karyn Ross discusses Coaching Kata, and continuous improvement in a service context.

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How to Apply Toyota Kata with Amy Mervak

Amy Mervak, Chief Quality and Compliance Officer at Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, discusses how she and her team have been able to apply Kata.

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TWI, Kata, and Respect for People with Skip Steward and Brandon Brown

Skip Steward and Brandon Brown share their insights from the 2017 KataCon/TWI Summits in San Diego.

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Toyota Kata and the Power of Networking with Christopher Ferrier

Learn about Christopher's Kata journey.

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How to Leverage the Improvement and Coaching Katas with Mark Rosenthal

Hear what makes Kata so valuable from Kata expert Mark Rosenthal.

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How to Understand the Components of Kata with Brandon Brown

Kata expert Brandon Brown returns to the podcast to provide a comprehensive breakdown of both the improvement and coaching katas.

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