Who is Masa Maeda (@masakmaeda) ?

Masa Maeda was suggested by Gustavo Quiroz. Here is what Gustavo has to say about Masa.

I met Masa in Lima during Ágiles 2010, the 3rd Latin American Agile Conference, but it wasn’t until the next year, when I took his Kanban workshop that I got the opportunity to talk to him at length. He really struck me as an incredibly experienced guy with a diverse and extensive background in topics like software development, artificial intelligence, leadership, start ups, big companies, even NLP! I’m really looking forward to his new book on Lean Value Innovation.


What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

I have actually had a myriad of influences, all of them with one common denominator. I am of Japanese-Hispanic descendant and even though I grew up in Mexico City education at home was primarily Japanese style. Just imagine, I learned to use chopsticks before silverware. I did my graduate years in Japan for a total of 6 years and have lived in the USA, whose culture I have absorbed intensely, since 1995. So I have the influence of three orthogonal cultures. This has given me openness towards diverse cultures.

From the academic standpoint I have studied and mixed applied, formal, natural, and social sciences as well as humanistic so my approach to what I do as a coach, consultant, and trainer is a combination of all of them. This has give me a broader perspective towards problems and solutions.

Although I was raised catholic my curiosity took me to lear about other religions and practice diverse meditation techniques. As result I am not religious but I definitely have a well-rounded set of values and principles that I live by.

Another main influence in my life has been the outdoors and martial arts. I have done almost anything when it comes to outdoor activities since very early age. From high-altitude mountaineering to rock climbing, cave exploration, white-ater rafting and other, I even went on a winter expedition to the Arctic and was invited to climb Mount Everest but that I couldn’t do because I got injured prior to the climb. Regarding martial arts I should probably practice Japanese style (I actually did a bit of Judo and Kendo) but what I enjoy is the chinese style and what I practice the most is an internal martial art known as Yi Chuan. This is important because it has given me a better understanding of systems thinking and lean.

I think all that gives me a very unique perspective to help my customers and their customers more effectively.

If you had not been in IT, what would have become of you?

I am actually not in IT only! (laugh) I actually help customers outside IT as well. But yes, my main activity has to do with computers. I have three other choices: Medicine, Psychology, and Mountain guide. The first two I can still pursue and who knows, maybe someday I will; but my time to do the third one is gone and the outdoors are just a way for me to relax and recharge.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?

My biggest challenge these days is to make my company successful. Bringing lean and agile to many countries (Ibero-America, Northamerica and Asia) is not for the faint of hart, spirit, and both physical and mental energy. I am confident I can do it.

What drives you ?

Passion. I am very passionate of what I do because I want to help people, organizations, and economies improve, and what I do now is a great way to accomplish it.

What is your biggest achievement?

hummm… I don’t have one biggest achievement that stands out. I have been founding team member of companies that are successful and I am very proud of. I have helped change people’s lives for the better.

What is the last book you have read?

I read all the time and don’t keep track of it. Also, I don’t read linearly. Nonetheless the last linear reading I did was during my last trip to Waterloo and during the fights I read Ackoff’s F/Laws.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?

Q: What’s next? A: I am writing a book on Lean Value Innovation and am working hard to get it done and publish it. This book combines diverse aspects necessary to make an organization successful and has to do with a balance between people, environment, methods, and tools through innovation to create great, successful products and services.

Whom do you think I should ask next?

  • Donald Reinertsen

August 2012

Splitting time between: