KaiZen Publications: Revolutionising books for the AI era

In an age where the rapid pace of technological and societal change has outstripped the sluggishness of traditional publishing, Kaizen publications emerge as a groundbreaking solution. Named after the Japanese concept of “Kaizen,” which means continuous improvement, this innovative approach blends the dynamic capabilities of AI with the tangible permanence of printed media. Diplo’s Kaizen publications are a testament to this philosophy, which is continuously evolving through a seamless fusion of human insight and AI-driven analysis. Readers can access these ever-evolving publications online and receive an annual printed edition that encapsulates the year’s advancements.

What is Kaizen?

Kaizen is a Japanese term that translates to “continuous improvement” and describes a philosophy that focuses on the continuous, incremental improvement of processes, products, or services. Originating in Japan, Kaizen became well-known worldwide through its application in manufacturing and business practices, particularly in lean manufacturing and the Toyota Production System.

Kaizen is built around a few main features:

  • Continuous improvement through small and ongoing positive changes evolving into major improvements.
  • Focus on quality in observing reality and making incremental changes. 
  • Observation and use of data to identify areas for improvement.
  • Teamwork to foster shared purpose in collaborative problem-solving. 

Jovan Kurbalija, director of DiploFoundation, articulates the necessity of Kaizen publications in a world where traditional publishing methods fail to keep pace with rapid technological and social shifts. The Kaizen approach, he explains, is anchored in a two-speed system: rapid, just-in-time updates and slower, deliberate print preparations. This method also incorporates multimedia to enhance narrative delivery.

The two-speed approach to publishing

The fast speed aspect of Kaizen ensures that materials are updated in real time. AI tools scan for the latest developments related to the publication’s focus topics. The author then reviews and authorises these updates, ensuring readers receive timely and relevant information on topics of interest.

Conversely, the slow speed component takes place annually, allowing authors to produce a thoroughly updated version of their work. They can step back and reflect on the cumulative updates and shifts in the topic’s developments over a longer time span. Authors can revisit their research hypothesis, conceptual framings, and overall narratives of their publications. 

 Body Part, Finger, Hand, Person, Text, Credit Card

This dual-speed method addresses the pitfalls of the current “publish or perish” paradigm prevalent in academia. The relentless pressure to constantly publish has led to a flood of low-quality research, as highlighted by a Nature report. In extreme cases, some researchers are churning out papers every five days, significantly diminishing the quality and replicability of scientific inquiry. Recent studies indicate that less than half of published economic research can be replicated, undermining the credibility of scientific efforts.

At this critical juncture, AI presents an opportunity to either exacerbate this publishing inflation or foster a new era of two-speed research and publishing. By automating routine tasks and providing just-in-time updates, AI can free human researchers to engage in deeper analysis and reflection. This shift could curtail the “publish or perish” race and promote substantive research on modern society’s pressing issues.

Embracing multimedia in publishing

The Kaizen approach also leverages multimedia to communicate content more effectively. Today’s younger generations consume knowledge through diverse media forms—videos, animations, games, and sound. Pew Research indicates that 46% of Americans under 30 get their news from TikTok videos. This shift from print to multimedia should not be framed as a danger but as a unique opportunity to rediscover the storytelling traditions that predate written language, harking back to ancient oral traditions.

Implementing Kaizen Publications

Transitioning to Kaizen publications is less about overcoming technological challenges—since the tools are readily available and affordable—and more about restructuring our approach to academic and research publishing. The entrenched “publish or perish” mindset in academia, particularly in the social sciences, has prioritized quantity over quality. As we try to stop this trend, we should return to the fundamental aim of research and publishing—to deepen our understanding of nature, society, and our place within them—remains unchanged. 

Diplo’s adoption of Kaizen Publications

Diplo’s embrace of Kaizen publications is part of a wider organisational philosophy built around the cognitive proximity approach, which aims to bridge logical, ethical, and emotional gaps among individuals and between humans and machines. Kaizen publications are a continuous output of this approach, enhancing research, teaching, and brainstorming activities. Diplo is paving the way for a new era of meaningful and impactful academic publishing by integrating AI and human expertise in our eternal quest for knowledge.