Kata Level 1A - Lean Competency System

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Level 1A - Awareness


A practitioner with a KCS Level 1A certificate should have awareness and a basic understanding of Toyota Kata and the application of Scientific Thinking. The ability to understand and articulate the basic principles of Toyota Kata, and to have had first experience of using it in a training environment..

Prerequisite for Level 1A

There are no prerequisites for this level.

Knowledge requirements

The Level 1A practitioner shall know and understand the:

  1. Origin and evolution of Toyota Kata
  2. Brain biases and the need for scientific thinking
  3. Meaning and purpose of a Kata
  4. Concept of a Kata for developing new habits and mindset
  5. Four steps of the Improvement Kata
  6. Five questions of the Coaching Kata

Application requirements

The Level 1A practitioner shall be able to:

  1. Participate in a controlled application through an instructional classroom experience for example, using the Kata in Classroom 1 exercise.

Course outcomes

At the end of the course aligned to L1A learners will:

  • Be aware of the need for a more scientific way of thinking and working together and be interested in practicing Toyota Kata.
  • Understand the Toyota Kata skill building process and decide if and how to get started in their organisation.
  • Be able to work towards their first Target Condition through coaching.

Topic examples

A training course aligned to Level 1A should reference several of the topics below and the course’s learning outcomes should be closely aligned with these. Note that for Level 1A, awareness is the main focus, rather than an in-depth understanding of topics.

Toyota Kata origins & evolution

Covering key contributors: Toyota, Rother, Liker

The concept of Scientific Thinking

Covering definition, theory v. evidence, PDCA

Kata for building a new habit

The Improvement Kata

The Four-step Pattern, a model for practical scientific thinking for everybody

The Coaching Kata

The Five Questions, a Starter Kata for the Coach.

Human and Strategic Dimensions

How Toyota Kata can be used for developing organisational culture in a purposeful way

Relation and contribution to known approaches

Lean, Agile, PDCA (PDSA), Hoshin Kanri (Policy Deployment), Tiny Habits (Fogg), Atomic Habits (Clear)

Level assessment

The assessment shall demonstrate that the outcomes have been achieved.


An assessment that demonstrates the learner can remember and understand L1A Kata knowledge, for example, through a multiple choice test, problem or case-based exams, oral exam, essay exam.

Practical application

Evidence of participation in a controlled application through an instructional classroom experience using the Kata in Classroom 1 exercise or another adequate practical application.