Each situation brings with it a set of conditions that are complex and dynamic. Improvement KATA/Coaching KATA (IK/CK) builds a problem-solving method on the use of scientific thinking. At its core, scientific thinking is a routine of intentional coordination between what we think will happen next (theory), what actually happens (evidence), and adjusting based on what we learn from the difference.  It’s a working pattern that makes us better at reaching difficult goals through unclear territory. Scientific thinking is not difficult, but it is not our natural, default mode. What happens instead is that our brain automatically, quickly and unconsciously fills in the blanks.

Catalyst Connection’s Improvement KATA Difference

Catalyst Connection has worked with hundreds of local manufacturers to deliver Lean Manufacturing tools and training for more than two decades. We have found that companies who build a strong foundation with IK/CK see bigger gains with lean improvement projects and the continuous improvement culture is widely embraced by the employees.

Tools for Success

The four steps of the Improvement Kata are a model of scientific thinking and acting that’s similar to other models of the human creative process.  What’s different is that each step of the Improvement Kata pattern includes structured practice routines, or Starter Kata, that make the pattern actionable and teachable.

  1. Get the Direction or Challenge – “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”
  2. Grasp the Current Condition – Study the facts and data of where you are now.
  3. Establish your Next Target Condition – It will usually take a series of Target Conditions to reach your Challenge goal.
  4. Conduct Experiments to get there – Find the path by conducting experiments, using the Experimenting Record and asking the Five Coaching Kata Questions after each experiment.

Some of the referenced Improvement KATA content was created by Mike Rother, all rights reserved. These materials are intended to support people who are teaching, practicing or interested in the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata. You can learn more by visiting his website:

Contact Us

For more information on KATA, contact Eric MacDonald, Managing Director of Continuous Improvement, at 412.918.4210 or