Improvement kata 101 (virtual card sort)

May 11, 2023 | 9:00 am to 11:30 am
Pacific Time
Contact AME: 224-232-5980 |
Member Fee: $75
Non-Member Fee: $125


Virtual Event

This class is an experiential introduction to the four-step improvement cycle of Toyota Kata, a structured approach to continuous improvement that helps people develop a scientific mindset. How fast can you lay out 24 cards in a precise sequence? You’ll discover that and more in this 2.5hour program. You will be introduced to a structured improvement cycle that will let you discover how to reach a significant challenge in a series of incremental experiments. You will learn how to take a step, make a prediction, observe the outcome, and learn from it in a way that can inform your next step. You will leave familiar with the cycle and a strong appreciation for how they can help you improve just about anything.

Supplies and system requirements:

Every participant must have a full deck of cards in a box, including jokers and blanks, and a space approximately 18” deep x 24” wide clear on their desk in front of the monitor they will use for the Zoom call. Ideally, your camera should be able to be angled down onto the clear space of the desk. For monitors with integrated cameras, it often works to place the monitor to one side of the clear space when the camera is required. Test out your arrangement before the call to confirm there is enough free cable for you to move the monitor.


Jennifer Ayers is the executive director for the Northwest High Performance Enterprise Consortium (NWHPEC), a nonprofit lean learning organization in Portland, Oregon. In this role, Ayers is responsible for planning and organizing continuous improvement learning experiences and coordinating benchmarking and sharing between consortium members. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering and manufacturing engineering, and has spent her career implementing lean principles in both manufacturing and administrative settings. She has held roles as a manufacturing/process engineer, engineering design manager, project manager, and operational excellence manager. She had the opportunity to work at UPS, GE, and A-dec prior to joining NWHPEC. Ayers loves engaging with people, creating and executing strategy, and developing learning programs that build new capabilities. She joined the AME Western Region board of directors in 2019 and has been an AME member since 2009.

Kelly DePaolo is a learning and development specialist at A-dec. She facilitates the corporate continuous improvement training program. DePaolo designs and facilitates training programs that focus on lean tools and concepts. She has spent the past 15 years in a formal continuous improvement role as a trainer, facilitator, and coach. Her role allows her to work hands on with departments throughout the organization, both in manufacturing and administrative areas, to identify non-value-added activities and help team members create new processes that are designed to create consistent, dependable outputs every time that conform to customer requirements. She enjoys working one-on-one and with teams to help develop their problem solving and improvement skills. DePaolo joined the AME Western Region board of directors in 2020.


You'll gain high level knowledge of what the 4-steps of the Improvement Kata are and be able to see how they apply to a process as you use the 4 steps to work towards improving how you sort cards into a pattern. You will learn how to take a step, make a prediction, observe the outcome and learn from it in a way that can inform your next step. You will leave familiar with the cycle and a strong appreciation for how they can help you improve just about anything.


Anyone who is curious to know more about developing scientific thinking through the practice of the improvement kata. Please note, coaching kata is not formally covered in this course.


We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone to fully participate and engage. Please email if you have any questions.

If you are not already a member of AME, we invite you to join at this time. Membership benefits include complimentary and discounted event registrations throughout the entire year. To learn more about membership benefits, please visit here.

By participating in this event, you grant AME, or anyone authorized by AME the right to use or publish in print or electronic medium any photograph or video containing your image or likeness for educational, news, or promotional purposes, without compensation.

To fully participate in an AME virtual event, a high-speed internet connection, speaker/headphones, microphone, and webcam are needed. While not required, you will have a better online experience if you do not use wireless internet service. A wired/ethernet connection will have a stronger signal than wireless. Live captioning will be available for this event. Make sure you download the Zoom Client for Meetings desktop application for the best experience. Do not use the version available through your web browser as it has limited features.

Cancelation Policy: This event may be canceled by AME for any reason. AME is not responsible for incidental costs incurred by registrants. For paid events, registration fee less a $20 administration fee will be refunded up to one week before the event. Substitutions may be made up to three days prior to the start of the event.