8.1 Kaizen

Kaizen is an innovative approach that can be used as part of internal QA within a higher education institution. Kaizen is all about creating continuous improvement, based on the idea that small, ongoing positive changes can reap significant improvements. Typically, Kaizen is based on cooperation and commitment and stands in contrast to approaches that use top-down changes to achieve transformation.

As a broad concept that carries myriad interpretations, Kaizen has been adopted in many other industries, including healthcare and education. It can be applied to any area of business and even on the individual level. Kaizen can use a number of approaches and tools, including those related to Total Quality Management, which is a management framework that enlists workers at all levels to focus on quality improvements. Regardless of methodology, in an organisational setting, the successful use of Kaizen rests on gaining support for the approach across the organisation and from the institutional leadership down.


The following video explains in 5 minutes how Kaizen can be implemented into everyday processes.


You can find the PowerPoint slides that are used in the video here:


Organise a Kaizen event within an organisational level in your institution where regular meeting around teaching and learning take place, for example on the level of a department. The Kaizen event should preferably be part of an existing regular meeting (e.g. during a monthly departmental meeting ). Once it has been piloted, you should consider making this a regular event and something to organise in all relevant organisational units. (60 min)

Example of Kaizen meeeting (3 min)