How Toyota became the most innovative car company in the world

This weekend's New York Times Magazine featured a great cover story on Toyota, which explained how the Japanese company has become the acknowledged leader in the global automobile industry. At a time when Ford and GM are downsizing and rightsizing, the incredible Toyota engineering team continues to get things right. The latest product is the Toyota Tundra, a new full-size truck designed with Red State America in mind. With Toyota, small incremental innovations snowball over time into huge improvements in productivity, efficiency and output. By the end of 2007, Toyota could pass GM as the world's largest car company. Already, the company's stock market capitalization is $240 billion - higher than that of GM, Ford, Daimler Chrysler, Honda and Nissan combined. If Toyota were a baseball team, surmises Jon Gertner of the New York Times, it would be the type of team that wins 150 out of 162 games.


Anyway, if you're looking for some Japanese management buzzwords to inject into your cocktail conversations, the article explains concepts like kaizen ("continuous improvement") and genchi genbutsu ("what customers want in a car or truck and how any current versions come up short"). What's cool is that Toyota engineering and design teams actually make archaeological visits to truck graveyards in Michigan, where they examine the rusting hulks of old trucks: "With so many retired trucks in one place, they also gained a better sense of how trucks had evolved over the past 30 years - becoming larger, more various, more luxurious - and where they might go next." (In addition to this great quote about evolution, the article highlights the importance of Toyota's DNA -- both topics, of course, that relate directly to the Endless Innovation blog!)

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less