Do you want to inch up the charts or do you want to leap? I think that is the greatest reason Lean-style thinking has develop Kaizan events. Focus on results and “LET’S GITTER DONE!”
However, if you want to get something accomlished having a trained practicioner or Black Belt may prove very beneficial to you. This way you can be sure of adequate preparation and a toolbox full of tools that may be needed during the event. They will use a variety of tools to include Pareto Charts, Fish-Bone and Mini-Tab, Names that you may be familar with but unless you have utilized them several times, you will labor through them. Like all software and instruments, it is in the interpretation of the data is where the gold is. The instruments do not just spit out the right answer.
Peter Keen, Chairman of Keen Innovations says; “Characterizing kaizen as simply “continuous improvement” trivializes the concept and portrays it as cautious and lacking in imagination… More typically, the implementation of kaizen reflects a radical commitment to an entire way of operating that requires floor-to-ceiling change in management, work, manager-worker relationships, discipline, decision making, and the organization of knowledge that transforms an organization into a federation of problem solvers.”
These are not simple brainstorming sessions. these are orchestrated events that will allow you to put a plan of action together. Many managers are intrigued by Kaizan because it allows them to form a strong focused approach which can accelerate implemntation. I have seen some use the terminology a beachhead for their project implementation. Also, another important ingredient is having people at the event that can make a decision. It is not meant to be an event that you have to seek approval. However, if you want to jumpstart your quality inititatives, start with Kaizen.