4.2. Experimentation Software: Values

The preceding practices constitute the hardware of experimentation. The values and principles supporting these logical routines are the software, and they can be traced back to the founders of Toyota. The values expressed by Sakichi Toyoda in his mottos for the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, "Let apostrophy s give it a try" and "Don apostrophy t be afraid to make mistakes, " are integral to the corporate culture that enables experimentation.

In this section, we show how five values in particular serve as the enablers of experimentation (1) taking decisive action (2) tolerating failure (3) being honest (4) doing good, and (5) never giving up.

Taking Decisive Action

The mindset of experimentation requires a willingness to take decisive action to produce results. Toyota employees are constantly encouraged to get their hands dirty with the motto, "If you're 60 percent sure, take action." Taking action and not succeeding is considered okay, because doing nothing is worse. The high worth attached to decisive action originates with the founders, Sakichi and Kiichiro Toyoda, who were fond of saying:

Before you say you can't do something, try it.

—Sakichi Toyoda[]

An engineer who has the ability to criticize but does not take action is not able to make cars.

—Kiichiro Toyoda[]

The value of decisive action has been reinforced over time through the practice of Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA). As part of the continuous improvement routine used extensively ...

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