Tuesday, October 27, 2015


There is a neat technique the Japanese use to challenge all business processes. They believe in asking why five times. Jim Gray in Sharing Ideas Newsletter gives a fun example that I thought I'd share with you. The Fact is:
Train tracks in this country are 48" apart.
The US copied the British standard.

Why did the British use this standard?
The British copied their tramways, which existed before the railroads.

Why did the trams use this standard?
The trams used the same forms that were used for horse drawn wagons and carts.

Why did carts and wagons use this standard?
The wagons and carts used wheel ruts left on old roads built by the Romans for their chariots.

Why did the Romans use this standard?
It turns out that when you put two horses side by side, 48" is the optimum wheel spacing to keep the chariot stable.

Pretty interesting answer and pretty interesting process. Next time something comes up that you need to make a decision on make sure you ask why five times.

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