Innovation sometimes requires a lot of wasteful experimentation and it looks like that is completely anti-thetical to the whole efficiency argument.
The next step is learning to see waste. And chasing radical ideas is not necessarily waste. Experimentation is not necessarily waste.
Toyota employs something called "set-based product development" where they develop multiple versions of a product at once. Talk about "wasteful experimentation."
Imagine developing three versions of a web site in Prototype, JQuery, and Flash -- all at the same time.
But I think it is easier to learn Extreme Programming first because TPS is somewhat abstract. XP is very concrete. Check out Kent Beck's Extreme Programming Explained.
It is much, much more than a 'lean system', although one of their major goals is to eliminate waste.
I'm also big fan of their 'go and see for yourself' (genchi genbutsu) philosophy.
3M struggled with this as well: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_24/b4038406....
Many big US corporations can't survive this crisis because they have a systemic culture problem. Corporate behavior is very hard to change at that size. Truly lean approach requires maturity. These corporations only seem understand as a lean approach to simply reduce the workforce.
if remember well, he started here http://startuplessonslearned.blogspot.com/2008/09/lean-start...