Elegant Solution: Toyota's Formula for Mastering Innovation
By Matthew May
-- "Fortune," February 2006
For the first time, an insider reveals the formula behind Toyota's unceasing quest to innovate and do more with less, a philosophy that has made it one of the ten most profitable companies in the world (and worth more than GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, and Honda combined). In a rare look into Toyota's ability to consistently achieve breakthroughs that outperform the competition, "The Elegant Solution" explains what Toyota associates have known all along: it's not about the cars. Rather, Toyota's astounding success is just the visible result of a hidden creative process that begins with a seven-digit number.
"One million." That's how many new ideas the Toyota organization implements every year. These ideas come from every level of the organization -- from the factory floors to the corporate suites. And organizations all over the world want to learn how it's done. Now senior University of Toyota advisor Matthew May shows how any company can achieve an environment of everyday innovation and discover the kinds of elegant solutions that hold the power to change the game forever. World-class benchmarks like Lexus, Prius, Scion -- even Toyota's vaunted production system -- are simply shining examples of elegant solutions.
A tactical playbook for team-based innovation, "The Elegant Solution" delivers powerful lessons in breakthrough thinking in a provocative yet practical guide to the three core principles and ten key practices that shape successful business innovation. Innovation isn't just about technology -- it's about value, opportunity, and impact. When a company embeds a real discipline around tapping ingenuity in the pursuit of perfection, the sky is the limit. Dozens of case studies (from Toyota and other companies) illustrate the universal power and applicability of these concepts. A unique "clamshell strategy" prepares managers to successfully lead and sustain the innovation effort.
At once a thought-starter and a taskmaster, "The Elegant Solution" is a vital prescription for anyone wanting to truly master business innovation.
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