It’s been about nine months since I left a job in Toyota’s Strategic Finance Group for an opportunity to return to China to work for Originate China. At Originate, we create innovative web and mobile apps for clients and also based on our own internally generated ideas, and we also work with entrepreneurs to support their growth by providing strategy and engineering expertise. We are an agile development shop and focus on being nimble, which makes the Lean Startup methodology a great fit for our work.
While working in various business functions at Toyota for over 5 years, I was able to see first-hand how Lean Manufacturing and the Toyota Production System has been applied to non-manufacturing functions. I learned how this methodology can be very effective within Toyota, but also how the Toyota approach to Lean Thinking in a business context with a focus on consensus-building can sometimes slow decision-making to a crawl, making the business anything but nimble. I am therefore in the unique position to apply the Lean Startup methodology to our business in China while avoiding some of the features of Toyota’s approach that aren’t ideal for startups.