On Friday the Lab visited Ricoh , whose UK base is near Telford in Shropshire. Every month we aim to visit one organisation renowned for innovative practices.
Ricoh has a long tradition of innovation and continuous improvement stretching back to its formation in Japan in the 1930's.
Ricoh has practiced the principle of Kaizen (In Japanese "Good for Change") since the second world war.
One of the most notable features of kaizen is that big results come from many small changes accumulated over time. Ricoh is a great example of the principle "Think Big. Start Small".
As our host told us "We'd rather have a million ideas that save £1 than one idea that saves £1,000,000."
And literally everybody is involved in the improvement process. People are given small incentives to provide suggestions (£1 vouchers cashable in the canteen). Coming up with ideas is built into the performance and appraisal system.
They've turned their entire global workforce into a giant innovation lab.
We'll be keeping in touch with Ricoh and trying some of their techniques in the Bromford Lab.
Watch out for more on Ricoh over on the Paul Taylor blog next week.