Your Head Will Get Soft

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 05-14-20

Creativity takes work, along with inspiration. Inspiration doesn’t always strike us when we plan for it, or when we need it. We have to adopt many different strategies to engage our creativity and intuition within problem solving. Yoshiki Iwata is the founder of the famous lean consulting firm Shingijutsu. Mr. Iwata was an original member of the Toyota Autonomous Study Group, and direct student of Toyota Production System founder Taiichi Ohno as the Toyoda Gosei plant manager.

Mr. Iwata, who passed away in 2001, was one of my mentors during my time developing and deploying the Chrysler Operating System, which was tremendously successful at transforming the company, at least until the Daimler acquisition of the company. Early on in the transformation, we held Process Improvement Weeks, where we executed multiple week-long kaizen events around the company, and most if not all of the key officers participated in the events, with one large closing event at the end of the week. I had Mr. Iwata in my kaizen, as well as automotive legend and Chrysler COO Bob Lutz.

In the closing comments of the event, Mr. Iwata shared a perspective from Taiichi Ohno’s coaching of him. He said that Ohno used to say, “use your brain first, no money, and if your brain doesn’t work, work physically hard until you sweat, your head will get soft and you will have a good idea.” This insightful perspective gives you a path to find your inspiration, your intuition, and allow the space to be creative.