Makigami … and the Art of Systemic Process Improvement

Makigami literally means: ‘Role of Paper’ in Japanese.
But it is also the ‘Action Script’ to the Ninja (who holds this as role of paper in front of him).
It contains ‘the Golden Rules’ -the basic principles- the actions that really matter…
 On the left you see “The mother of all Makigami’s” made in 1996 by Okamura-san at Fujico (Japan).
Compare the size of the door at the left!
After 10 years it was still being improved, as we could see during a visit in December, 2006. The Makigami’s being developed in Europe are modified to suite our needs; we use post-its and need a different layout (Japanese writing allows vertical text).

Basically it consist of 5 area’s:

  1. Activities performed by all involved parties
  2. Documents/media used in communication
  3. Communication lines
  4. Time-analysis
  5.  Identified problems
Due to an enhanced application of the technique, nowadays it is possible to make quite deep analyses of the current state and redesign for the future state, within as little as one week.

Most of such weeks are performed as ‘boosterweeks’ where up to 6 simultaneous cross functional teams go through the process, presenting a 100-day implementation plan at the end of the week.

Although it is a simple tool and could be used as such, it is the basic vehicle towards a completely different approach of support- and administrative organizations. It is the key-instrument towards a systemic -or if you wish a holistic- view of the organization and its surrounding; the true next level of successful organizations.


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