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Stringing together Autonomous Automation

“When a problem occurs, ask ‘why’ five times to try to find the source of the problem, then put into place something to prevent the problem from recurring”      

-Sakichi Toyoda (founder of Kabushiki-gaisha Toyota Jidō Shokki)

Toyota began as a Loom manufacturer. In 1924 the company went viral when they invented the Type G machine. It was such an advancement in technology because it had the ability to shut itself off when it detected a single error. In 1933 Toyota took this inventive philosophy to  the automobile market and the rest of the story is magnificent as pleather.

Ever since it’s beginnings the Toyota company has maintained an office of “sensei”s that help with problem solving and better design through Jidoka, a kind of ko’an automation exercise. This framework of business model coupled with a strong sense of responsiblity among workers has proven to be a great service to humanity.

Case in point- the Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, and Toyota’s ball of yarn.

The Hospital, hemorrhaging money and  overrun by megalomaniac doctors who always knew best, discovered that the efficiency they thought they had over their organization was in actuality just a great disservice to suffering patients.

There’s a great audio story about how the sensei’s were sought out and saved the day over at 99% invisible




One comment on “Stringing together Autonomous Automation

  1. 50 States Design Project
    December 22, 2011

    So cool.

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This entry was posted on December 22, 2011 by in Art, Economics, Science, Technology and tagged , .
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