The Elegant Solution – Toyota’s Formula for Mastering Innovation: book review

Author: Matthew May
Price: £17.99
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 236
ISBN: 1847370284

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Matthew May is the senior adviser to the University of Toyota, and has the insight into what makes Toyota a success. As the cover blurb says: “It’s not about cars”. So if the idea from the title puts you off – don’t be. This book has business and management lessons that are transferable to virtually any industry.

I have enjoyed and been fascinated by the content, which comes under three headings: principles, practice and protocol. There are many lessons to be learned, and I particularly zoomed in on Hansei (the Japanese word for reflection). In the West, we do not readily take on board the idea of reflecting on our experiences. I will now label ‘reflecting’ as a reality check, as this perception is so much stronger for ‘selling’ to staff. This is a great business message and just one example from this book, which is why I strongly recommend it.

Toyota’s formula for mastering innovation is the lesson that businesses need for the 21st century – the age of leadership, creativity and innovation, rather than the age of management, repetition, and old ways. To succeed in the modern world requires new skills, and this book provides one guide in an easily affordable, readable and understandable format.

Useful? Four out of five stars
Well-written? Four out of five stars
Practical? Four out of five stars
Inspirational? Five out of five stars
Value for money? Five out of five stars
Overall? Four out of five stars

Reviewed by Keith Lawson, lecturer in business and management, and consultant in the advice and guidance sector

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