I’m interested in compiling a kaizen database; this is what I’m currently doing for English language teaching/learning because that’s my field (i.e., linguistics). I think this can be done in many other fields, as I believe
we need a clear method of managing the information we have acquired so far.
The kaizen database provides us with the perfect format to organise information because it presents the information in a way that ensures its practical value.
Now, what is the kaizen database format? I’m not sure if this is the case in all the companies in the world, but in most Japanese companies they have this thing called a kaizen system, which is basically condensed in an Excel spreadsheet. This file is used by employees to submit a kaizen proposal which is then evaluated and (if found worthy) added to the kaizen database.
So I’m interested in realising a (keywords-searchable) database centred on this very basic format, which would
enable people interested in ways of improving their current practices (whatever they are busy doing) to find the knowledge they need.
Imagine how easy it would be to access the information you need if it is organised in ONE place, i.e, one master file where the categories are clearly defined based on specific fields of expertise (are you listening, Google people?). The governing idea should be practicality; the question in the user mind should be:
What kaizen (Change-into-Good) has been tried, tested and proven to work in my field of work / interest?
We need to improve our system of accessing, organising and summarising (in understandable English) the information about kaizen ideas. Maybe we can translate it in other languages at later stages if it proves to be a success.
I think this is where we need to start.
Let me give you an example of kaizen, although the person who came up with this brilliant idea didn’t describe it in these terms. I’m sure you saw this if you’re using Facebook or some other social network media.
Somebody teaching English in Brazil wanted her students to be able to practice speaking with English native speakers and she realised that the need to communicate has to be real on both sides, so she enlisted the help of some retired people in the US.
As a kaizen, it can be summarised as follows:
- Proposal (our kaizen in a sentence): Improve student speaking skills by enabling communication with English native speakers in retirement homes in the US.
- Problem (what do we have now): Students have few opportunities to communicate in English in their own country. Increasing the amount of interaction in English in Brazil using traditional methods is prohibitively expensive.
- Method (how can we achieve kaizen): Create an Internet platform of interaction; “The student logs in, chooses a senior who is online and starts talking; [the conversation can be guided or free]; at the end, the conversation goes to a private link … for teacher evaluation”.
- Expectations (what do we expect after kaizen): Better speaking skills, more interaction time, increased student motivation, increased sense of self-worth (as educators) for retirees.
- Observations (what we measured after kaizen): This is where the teacher evaluation results come in, as well as feedback from all the participants (students, retirees, etc.)
- Category: Learning -> Language learning -> Foreign language learning -> Speaking skills -> Real interactions with native speakers -> …
- Supporting materials (optional): Drawings, pictures, movies, graphs, tables etc.