Posted in Bite size learning, Decision Making, Leadership, Problem solving

“Give me a fruitful error…”


Vilfredo Pareto an Italian economist and philosopher once said

“Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections.”

The Toyota car company before the second world war worked as all other car lines did, if an error ocurred only the floor manager could stop production.  Many cars were thus produced with faults or there were many faults corrected at the end of the line.  Workers feared pointing out mistakes as there were consequences of holding up the process.

Taiichi Ohno, the Japanese businessman turned the Toyota production line on its head.  He gave every worker the power to stop the line, and encouraged all workers to come and look at the fault and resolve it together.  No error was treated as a one off each was seen as a problem to be re-engineered.  Initially the line was stopped frequently and production suffered, however as time moved on the stoppages became less frequent and the quality of the cars improved.

Ohno used a very simple method – “The five whys?”

  • Why is that piece not connected?
  • Why is that not moving?
  • Why is their light on?
  • Why do we need to put that light on?
  • Why is that not connected?

This story shows the power of learning from failure, look at the week ahead and use every error as a fruitful reinvention of your process.

nuggets are happy to facilitate a process mapping session to spot any of your errors and ask the five whys?

Please contact



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