Toyota, famous for highly reliable cars and in management circles is lauded for their "Lean Production System" approach. It's taken the better part of a couple decades for American companies to figure out exactly what that means. Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but Toyota knew that no matter how many times people toured their operations, they just wouldn't "get it".
So what makes it so compelling?
First of all, it isn't any one thing. It's not:
1. Just in time production
2. Synchronized supply-chains (workflow) inside and outside of the factories
3. Elimination of waste -- overage/overhead and especially human effort
4. Empowered employees who can "pull the chain" if they see defects
It is that -- but its not simply in a set of instructions that they mindlessly follow -- or is it?
What makes Toyota so good at what it does is that it codifies its knowledge in a way that it can be readily understood and more importantly transferred to another person. Its almost like its in their DNA. And that is no accident.
Getting "lean" means not paying for the same knowledge twice.
The K-Brief is a single sheet of paper (A3 size in japan, similar to 11x17 or tabloid size) -- that captures in an appropriate level of detail a problem statement, what is known, and what is not known. Can't fit it all on a single sheet? You've likely got a problem that needs to be further broken down into additional K-Briefs.
The paper size is important (at least to Toyota, where its held with almost reverent devotion) - I have to admit when I was living in Japan I fell in love with an A4 sized graph-paper notebook system by Maruman that I used as both journal and notebook for ideation. The pages were loose-leaf with a 30-square hole punch that fit neatly into a split-comb semi translucent binder. See why I call it a "system" ? It was awesome. I stock up on it whenever I go back (and can find the stuff).
Lately I've been using a simple 'journal style' notebook that's the size of a trade paper back made by Mead (the Academie 6" x 9" Wirebound sketch diary) -- what I like about the size of this notebook is that "seems small" -- portable -- handy -- which means that it travels with me -- readily -- and that makes it available for ideation. It helps with the "yes, and" approach -- building on your own great ideas.
So, today's Big Idea is this: Find the right notebook to capture your big ideas in.
Size, color, weight, style does matter. Spend some time finding one. Browse the shelves of a Barnes&Noble or your favorite book store, artist supply shop, or online. It has to be quest! When you find one that calls to you buy a bunch of them in different colors/covers if possible. Your big ideas need their own spaces to grow in!