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Part One – Fundamentals

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

– St. Francis of Assisi

Let’s first lay some groundwork by learning the history and fundamentals of Lean and Zen.

Key points from this section:

  • Always consider the perspective of the customer, which could be you or your team.
  • The recent history of Lean stretches back to 1910s inside Henry Ford’s automobile assembly operations. Sakichi Toyoda took Ford’s ideas to Japan, where Toyota continued to evolve the concept. In the 1990s, Lean became popular in the United States with the publishing of James Womack and Daniel Jones’s The Machine That Changed the World.
  • The two pillars of Lean are “create value through continuous improvement” and “respect for people.”
  • Zen is not necessarily a religion; rather, it is a human- and present-centered way of life.
  • The nexus of Lean and Zen includes awareness through observation, simplicity, balance and harmony, and flow.