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Part I Just Learning Organizations will survive

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Introduction: Why Obeya and why now?

The Purporse with this book is to  all types of leaders, managers, trade union representatives  and operators, to be able to strengthen the ability to adapt to challenges through to a better learning together. Frederick Laloux writes in his epoch-making re-invention organizations.

There have been many organizational paradigms (ways of thinking) before, and  there will be new in the future organizations". Organizations will change because they have to, such as Charles Darwin in his time formulated in relation to species.

System thinkers with Obeya will help with the transition from traditional 

management to the a dynamic development and learning systems.

There are several important sources you can look up here.  But I recommend you to start by reading Dr. Deming´s New Economics.  If you haven't  read it by now, order it!. 

Central to Deming´s theori is that most of the results we don't want are "built into" the systems. By understanding the systems better, we will be able to improve them.  People are more than good enough, but they have to change the way they lead.

Then we must have knowledge. This is the central point. We have to stop "believing" and get our bearings  by observing and thinking better.

Part 1 in the book  The book deals with the theoretical basis for this shift.

Part II  deals with methodes and techniques to get it. Here, there is a central source that we get a lot of attention from, namely the research of Laura and Derek Cabrera.  They discover the cognitive functions of systems thinking. Here are videos and learning materials that you can immerse yourself in.

Good videos of Systems Thinking




Am C. Edmonson from Harvard Business School lecture

Chapter 1 What is a learning organization? 

A learning organization is a complex system that is able to adapt through joint learning.

Here we use a framework called VCML.  This is essentially the framework for ALL organizations. But by being aware of this, we put the organization in a very position to learn.


The framework for every organization is VMCL or fission mission - Capability Systems and Learning. Capacity and culture are our organization with people, equipment, procedures, materials, knowledge, etc. It is what we are. Learning is to optimize and improve our capacity to carry out our mission to achieve the mission.  Here is an overview of the VCML (pdf).å visjonen. 

Here is an overview of the VMCL (PDF)

Chapter 2 Obeya - see together, think tighter, try together

Obeya is a virtual or traditional space for solving complex problems by practicing three simple rules:

see together, think (reflect) together and try together. 

We will go more throughly into the See-Think-Test, but here are some videos and links that can give you a deeper understanding of old and new scientific 


The foundation of systems thinking is the dialectical approach and the "father" of dialectics Heraclitus´famous Panta Rei - everything flows. 

That is, to observe the real world as systems in constant change. 

Obeya is to SEE-THINK-TRY learnings "room" where we try to understand and solve complex problems.

Here we must also look at Daniel Kanheman and Amor Tverskys discover of the brains systems 1 and 2 and our innate capacity for bias and interpretations.  


De tre enkle reglene går som en rød tråd gjennom boka..

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Nobel price winner Daniel Kahnemann. 

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This is one of the important books for Systems Thinkers. Recommend to read it! Here is a summary from the website

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Watch Dr. Derek Cabrera recent review research on gjennomgår nyere forskning on DSRP

Chapter 3 What can we learn from Toyota?

Obeya had its origins when Toyota was developing Lexus and later the world's first hybrid, the Prius.  The study of Toyota reveals the underlying principles we present in chapter 3.   Read the article of Tanaka avdekker de underliggende prinsippene vi presenterer i kapittel 3. Les artikkelen by Tanaka that explains some of the basic methods of Obeya. (see figure below)

Illustration på Obeya basic functions from Tanaka´s article. (over)

The basic elements of the Toyota Production System 

Chapter 4. See together  - why consensus?  

To draw an idea or think and put it together with others ideas or things make us better able to understand wholes, relationships, how things are connected an to see underlying, often hidden information. 

By mapping and visualizing  systems we understand them better.

Deming drew this diagram that illustrated the connections in a production system.  This diagram "lighted up Japan" as Deming wrote in the New Economics. This is fundamental insystem thinking and Obeya. 


Many have experience  the importance of making visible by using value stream maps.  The VSM map  reveals many areas for improvement and is one of the basic tools in Lean development.See PPTX about VSM

Scientific paper by Dr. Derek Cabrera on the importance of visualization. The article refers to a number of other studies that support the importance of visualizing (PDF document)

Here er some of them:

Eden, C.(1992) On the Nature of Cognitive Maps. Journal of Management



Santiago,H.C.(2011) Visual Mapping to Enhance Learning and Critical

Thinking Skills. Optometric Education,36 (3),125-13


Wileman,R.E.(1993) Visual Communicating. Englewood Cliffs NJ:Educational

Technology Publ.


Williams,C.G.(1998) Using Conceptual Maps to Assess Conceptual

Knowledge of Function. Journal of Research in Matematics Education,

Chapter 5. Think together  

The four basic cognitive  (thinking) functions that Dr.Derek Cabrera discover we are born with, named asl DSRP– distinction – system – relation og perspective.

Without these functions the brain simple wouldn't work. 

Deming describe the beskrev Theory of Knowledge as one of  the four lenses "for deeper knowledge" 
See Deming´s own drawing of a learning cycle.  See some notes and illustrations on the attached PDF. 

Resources on thinking maturity

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Chapter 6 Without practice, no knowledge

Practice related to Obeya has three main forms

  1. Observation, dialogue and PDSA learning loops in Obeya

  2. Learning rounds – gemba rounds – LAMDA

  3. Target practise trial/experiments according to the methodology in "Kata" 

1. Learning loops 


Practice is about doing something to learn. We have an idea, or a theory about a desire effect. And an idea of how we can make it happen.  Then we have to try this idea, preferably as a small experiment. The PDSA cycle is a systematization of this dynamic process. 

From daily board meetings at Fibo company in Lyngdal (Foto BBW)

2. LAMDA - learning rounds

3. "Kata" Try

Kata is a methodology with many small targeting attempts to remove or reduce an OBSTACLE. Read the article by Mike Rother and Ann Arbour that predicts a study from Toyota practices from 2004-2007

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Mike Rother and others have developed a website with many resources about Kata. Here is the link to the page

Chapter 7. Strategy Obeya- Hoshin kanri  

We have come to the most important chapter "Obeya". Specifically development of  new knowledge. We need answers on how to improve and renew our capability systems to carry out missions and achieve our visions or goals  

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Kapittel 8 Digital Obeya

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