Continuous Improvement: How It Works and How to Master It in a Changing World



Aug 08, 20234 min read


Continuous Improvement: How It Works and How to Master It in a Changing World

In today's fast-paced and ever-changing world, the need for continuous improvement has become more important than ever. Whether it's personal growth or professional development, the ability to adapt and improve is crucial for success. But how exactly does continuous improvement work, and how can we master it?

Continuous improvement is a dedication to making small changes and improvements every day, with the expectation that those small improvements will add up to something significant. It's about focusing on progress rather than perfection, and embracing the idea that even small steps forward can make a big difference in the long run.

The typical approach to self-improvement is to set a large goal and then try to take big leaps in order to accomplish that goal in as little time as possible. While this may sound good in theory, it often leads to burnout, frustration, and ultimately, failure. The truth is, improving by just 1 percent may not seem notable or noticeable at first, but it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run.

Imagine if you were to get 1 percent better each day for one year. By the time you're done, you would have improved by thirty-seven times! It's a powerful concept that highlights the importance of consistent and incremental progress.

One of the common mistakes we make when it comes to continuous improvement is overlooking the resources and ideas that are already at our fingertips. We often dismiss them because they don't seem new and exciting. However, in the real world, it is often easier to improve our performance by cutting the downside rather than capturing the upside. Subtraction is more practical than addition.

In many cases, improvement is not about doing more things right, but about doing fewer things wrong. By focusing on eliminating our weaknesses and addressing our shortcomings, we can make significant strides in our personal and professional lives. It's about recognizing that sometimes less is more, and that simplicity and efficiency can lead to great improvements.

Another important aspect of continuous improvement is the way we measure our progress. Most of the time, we tend to look forward and set goals for ourselves. We plan milestones and try to predict the future to some degree. But what if we were to measure backward instead of forward?

Looking back at our past actions and achievements can provide valuable insights and help us connect the dots. By reflecting on what we did last week and finding ways to improve just a little bit this week, we can make steady progress over time. It's about taking small steps forward, learning from our mistakes, and building upon our successes.

Now, let's explore how continuous improvement applies to the world of design. Designing for a changing world comes with its own set of challenges, but the principles of continuous improvement can be just as applicable.

Challenge #1: Developing relevant design solutions that were both regional and global. In a globalized world, it's important for designers to create solutions that cater to different regions while still maintaining a cohesive global identity. One way to address this challenge is through modular merchandising. By redesigning the homepage for modularity, designers can quickly customize it for the needs of different communities worldwide.

Challenge #2: Crafting a nimble product development process during unprecedented times. The world is constantly changing, and designers need to adapt quickly to new circumstances. This requires a nimble product development process that can pivot and adjust as needed. By embracing a design-centric approach, businesses can diversify and adapt their products internally and externally, even in times of limited travel and unforeseen events.

Challenge #3: Addressing gaps in current systems, product, tools, and processes. Continuous improvement is not just about making small changes; it's also about identifying and addressing gaps in existing systems and processes. By regularly evaluating and improving upon what's already in place, designers can ensure that their work is always evolving and staying ahead of the curve.

In conclusion, continuous improvement is a powerful concept that can be applied to various aspects of our lives, including personal growth, professional development, and even the world of design. By making small changes and improvements every day, we can achieve significant progress in the long run. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to help you master continuous improvement:

1. Embrace the power of small steps. Don't underestimate the impact of making incremental progress. Even small improvements can lead to significant results over time. Focus on progress, not perfection.

2. Reflect on past actions. Look back at what you've done and find ways to improve just a little bit each day. Learn from your mistakes and build upon your successes. Measure backward, not just forward.

3. Emphasize subtraction over addition. Sometimes, improving is not about doing more things right, but about doing fewer things wrong. Identify your weaknesses and address them. Simplify and streamline your processes for greater efficiency.

Continuous improvement is a journey, not a destination. It's about constantly learning, growing, and evolving. By embracing this mindset and incorporating the principles of continuous improvement into our lives, we can become masters of our own progress and achieve success in an ever-changing world.


  1. "Continuous Improvement: How It Works and How to Master It", (Glasp)
  2. "Designing for a changing world", (Glasp)

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