« Wa: The key to clear, harmonious design | Main | Sumi-e, color, and the art of less »

September 27, 2009


Samuli Pahkala


great post. With minor modification these 15 tips could apply to any area of life and business - not just for design.

Matt's book is one of the most referred to books in my blog - it is full of ideas how to implement kaizen and lean outside manufacturing.

Denis François Gravel (PRESENTability)

Thanks Garr. Excellent post....as usual.

I have started to use those "tips" some years ago and I can see the difference in my life.

My score is 12/15. Thanks to you, I now have three new tools to improve myself.

Suggestion for tip 16: Keep a notebook and a pencil in your pocket (moleskine). What we see and hear can inspire us and we don't want to lose that inspiration.

chris kluis


I just wanted to let you know that I used one of your presentations on Slideshare and gave out the copies of your book at Barcamp Tampa. Thanks so much for the support!!!

The presentation was extremely well recieved -

I came in there without a set presentation,
went over some basic rules,
I let the group pick a topic,
we story-boarded,
picked concepts,
visualized concepts via (istockphoto),
added some text

And everyone who didn't get a copy of our book (about 40 people) looked like they were on their way to grab a copy.

Thanks Again!!!

Ron Pereira

Hi Garr, I have been a fan of yours for some time... in fact PZ has influenced our company more than you can imagine.

You see, we sell online training teaching people about KAIZEN! And rather than 'death by PPT' we've done our very best to 'Zen things out' as we like to say.

Anyhow, it's very cool to see you writing about kaizen. Keep up the great work and thank you for the wisdom you've provided our company.

Ron Pereira
Gemba Academy

John Zimmer

A nice, succinct list, Garr.

Today I heard an interesting comment that, for me, is a take on your third point above (getting out of one's comfort zone). I heard it at the IBM Technology 2009 Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Larry Hirst, Chairman of IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa, said that we should look at ourselves as a big letter T. The vertical stem is our core competencies, our professional training. The horizontal part across the top represents the amount of time we have spent doing things outside our traditional work.

I found it to be a simple but effective metaphor.

Cheers and looking forward to the next post.

John Zimmer

Karen Cohen

Great piece on kaizen. After being in the fitness, wellness, and personal development arena for many years, we've found that this approach is a powerful key to making SUSTAINABLE positive change in one's life. Addressing the sizable gap between what people know they should do, or even really want to do, and what they ACTUALLY do and sustain - especially in regards to fitness and diet - is the focus of our work. We are shifting the paradigm toward sustainable fitness and wellness by embracing the dynamics of human energy management.

Kaizen works on so many levels, even the physiological as Dr. Maurer beautifully explains in "Kaizen: One Small Step Can Change Your Life". Highly recommended this book! Maurer inspired me to further this concept into our work in fitness, wellness and personal development. Continuing pushing the frontier forward.
Thanks for this!

Karen B. Cohen

KAIZEN Holistic Training & Wellness Studio

Jude Rathburn

Professor Reynolds - thank you for sharing your wisdom and inspiration. I bought your PZ book a few months ago and have been taking some small steps to incorporate your approach to presentation design in the business courses I teach. I have been a university professor for 16 years and the death by powerpoint culture has had a firm grasp on me - at least until now. But, as you point out in your video from your Google talk, it is hard work to design for simplicity and clarify the story that I want to tell.

Like the majority of my colleagues, putting lots of information on slides makes it easier for me to present, partly because I don’t have to know “the story” very well – I can “wing it” without having to look at my notes or review the text material. But the times that I have been able to just tell my story and let go of the trappings of text on a screen – are the times when my students have actually listened and heard the message behind the words. Yet it takes a lot of time and energy on my part to prepare a presentation that is zen-like in its simplicity, yet powerful in terms of impact.

I often get discouraged when I don't have the time or energy to make every presentation zen-like in aesthetics, content and delivery. Yet this blog has reminded me of the importance of beginner's mind, as well as compassion for myself - at least I am trying to think about presentation design differently. Your suggestions about taking the spirit of kaizen and applying it to my own unique personal kaizen approach to improve — step-by-step, little-by-little — my design mindfulness, knowledge, and skill - will help me keep plugging away on this long journey. Thanks for providing a bit of a roadmap to guide me along the way.

John Turner

Hi Garr - when I can I read your blogs.

Kaizen has clearly been mis-applied in management circles (for "continual improvement", read "continual productivity improvement" and wail at Toyota's fate!)

The actual spirit of Kaizen that you describe so fully reminds me of Aristotle's advice that excellence is a habit, and also that the study of rhetoric should include artistic endeavour and emjoyment, rather than simple the hunt for the killer soundbite that pervades modern political rhetoric.

Great site (I've said it before!)

Bren Murphy

Garr, really powerful thoughts here - I am applying them not to design - but to sobriety and overcoming addiction and they make a great resource for re-focusing the the monkey-mind of addiction.
Bren Murphy

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Search this blog

Get the books

TEDx Talks

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Amazon Affiliate Disclosure

    • Amazon Affiliate Disclosure
      Amazon Affiliate Disclosure This website contains Amazon affiliate links to products I use and recommend, which means that I receive a small commission on the sale of books and other products featured on the site. I only recommend books or other products which I have personally used unless otherwise noted. The purpose of this website is not to make money, but the small commissions do help to pay for the support of this website.