The Kanban system is a visualization strategy that helps you manage innovative development projects.
It enables you to observe all the things that are happening as work goes through your pipelines, all the while limiting the number of items that are being worked on right now.
Why is Kanban Popular?
Kanban can help you eliminate bottlenecks and pain points across your processes, which are likely limiting your team’s creative productivity.
It resolves them and improves your pipeline by setting a maximum limit on the number of things you’re working on.
Through this strategy, you can also develop permanent solutions for fixing some of your organization’s most pressing problems.
Kanban allows you to visualize your entire workflow chain: from seed stage ideation, prototype development and market validation, down to manufacturing, post-production, scalability, and expansion.
But how did the Kanban system evolve into the progressive visualization strategy that it is today?
Origin of the Kanban System
Kanban stems from Toyota’s socio-technical system known as TPS: the Toyota Production System. This system was invented by Sakichi Toyoda, founder of Toyota Industries, and is actually a congregate of several methods.
In 1896, he implemented the first method into TPS: The autostop feature. If there’s an issue during production, the system would stop to indicate an issue and avoid serious breakdowns.
Today, all modern lean manufacturing processes use this method in everyday operations.
“Autonomation” refers to automation with a human touch. The method requires no manual intervention aside from keeping stock full, which significantly improves production and output quality.
The pull system is also an important part of TPS. It reduces waste by replacing components only once they have been used. It allowed more accurate inventory tracking and much better reproduction strategies.
Through the years, all these systems combined evolved into what is now known as Kanban. Kanban paved the way to modern lean manufacturing strategies in the automobile industry, and beyond.
The earliest implementations of Kanban made use of color-coded permanent cards that presented comprehensive details on inventory and what needed to be done.
Nowadays Kanban makes use of more modern digital technologies and much faster wireless communications.
It allows you to visualize each stage of your entire ideation, prototyping, manufacturing, and post-production pipelines.
Primary Benefits of the Kanban System for Ideation and Crowdsourcing
So how exactly can you take advantage of today’s modern Kanban system for your ideation and crowdsourcing campaigns?
1. Real-Time Market Data
Seed stage ideation and proof of concept development require accurate market research data.
The data you collect helps you pinpoint trends and breakthroughs that are swiftly defining the needs, habits, and preferences of many markets across a variety of industries.
How does the Kanban system help you cost-effectively manage your market research and proof of concept development pipelines?
By giving you a good overview.
You’ll be able to strategically tie up your market validation plans with your other processes.
And you’ll then be more capable of making quick changes and timely improvements to drastically increase the quality of your team’s creative inputs and outputs.
2. Strategic Prototyping Tactics
Because Kanban allows you to simplify the management of your ideation and market validation pipelines, you’ll be able to develop tactics that can help you save a lot of time and money for your prototyping needs.
Identifying the right production partners and suppliers is much quicker and easier with a visualization system that enables you to observe each stage in your workflow.
You can focus on improving your initial prototypes based on the feedback of your beta testers and quality assurance specialists.
3. Timely Manufacturing and Post Production Campaigns
The feedback from your target audience should primarily define your subsequent manufacturing and post-production strategies.
This involves choosing the most suitable production outlets and re-aligning your sales and marketing campaigns with the behavior and movement of your ideal markets.
A Kanban system gives you an overview of all the accurate, real-time information about the status of your current inventory.
You’ll also be able to crowdsource the experience of your ideal customers as they continue to use your products and services.
When you collect useful details from a wider diversity of sources at much bigger volumes, you will radically increase the overall value of your solutions and results.
Kanban gives you control over your crowdsourcing tactics and helps you differentiate between various sources in each of your campaigns.
It helps you make timely adjustments when necessary, and you can augment your quantitative research data with qualitative results.
4. Tactical Growth and Expansion
The sustainability of your operations helps you source out investments and other support resources for your current and future projects.
You can more accurately adjust your sustainability targets, which can, in turn, define your growth and expansion plans.
Kanban gives you the right management capabilities for ensuring that tasks in your pipeline are optimized, do not overlap, and provide just the ideal solution to your target markets.
Having an Overview is Everything
Now keep these things in mind as you begin with your ideation activities and crowdsourcing tactics for your next project.
Pick a Kanban system that’s most suitable for the niches and industries where you operate.
Targeting unique markets for your new products and services through generic management processes won’t likely generate the results that you want.
This article is a guest post by Joe Peters. Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters