SuperToilet: A Case for Continuous Improvement

There’s always room for improvement. The question is whether it’s worth the effort.

Sometimes what you have works just fine. In those cases, go find another problem that needs your attention.

At other times, the current solutions aren’t doing the job, and something better should be your goal.

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Recently I was passing through Tokyo’s Narita Airport and found a great example in the—ahem—bathroom.

International visitors create a unique problem for service-oriented facilities like an airport. While you may think there is one universal toilet, that’s not the case. The two major areas of difference are: Sit vs. squat and paper vs. water.

On my recent tour, our guide would tell us that we were stopping at a place with “western toilets.” That meant sit and paper. I always felt a huge sigh of relief and sensed it from my fellow travelers as well.

The typical solution at places trying to accommodate various preferences would be to have both facilities. At other times there would be a hybrid solution that looked like a western toilet with a garden hose on the wall. All good efforts, but not great.

It wasn’t until I was on my way home that I discovered this high-tech wonder at Narita. While down the row of stalls there was a “squatter” for those that preferred it, in my stall I discovered SuperToilet! Check out that control panel.

Toilet Narita

It even came with instructions. Impressive.

Toilet instructions

Here’s my point. Who would think there’s much you could do to improve the toilet. And yet this baby was delightful in every way. It had a heated seat (at least that’s what I’m hoping), this fancy gadgetry for water ¬†controls, and even a deodorizing feature. Plus a good old-fashioned roll on the wall for us paper aficionados.

There’s always room for improvement. So what product or process in your business is not living up to some unique demands? How can you create your own version of SuperToilet?

Sometimes I wonder if opportunities for innovation still exist. This toilet reminded me that they most certainly do.

Image credit: Marie LaForce

By Tom LaForce

Tom LaForce helps companies change by creating stronger teams, more effective leaders, and better processes. To discuss a challenge you're facing, use this link to schedule a free discovery call.