Something every designer knows is that having less makes you more creative. In fact one of the first things we do when beginning a new project is to figure out what the constraints are; having those boundaries to bump up against forces us to innovate.
A particularly profound example of this, which every industrial design student should study, is how TPS–the Toyota Production System–and their kanban, a/k/a lean manufacturing/just-in-time manufacturing methodology, has influenced how things are made all around the world. Not just by Toyota, that is: I witnessed kanban practices during my visits to German power tool manufacturer Festool as well as Jonathan Ward’s amazing Icon facility, and everyone from Pixar to Boeing to IBM has borrowed from TPS.
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So what exactly is TPS, and why does it work so well? In this video, Bloomberg succinctly explains not only the system, but how it came about–as a result of having less resources: