Michael Rada
3 min readOct 10, 2022


Before 2008 I have never heard the word GEMBA which may sound strange to those who know the meaning because I spent almost all my life on GEMBA and started my career as a steel factory worker.

How can this happen?

The explanation would be short. GEMBA is a word in the Japanese language and firstly in 2018, I joined a Japanese company that uses this word to describe SHOPFLOOR.

Are you confused?

I was as well, for my work has nothing to do with shopping, but logistics.

In my language (Czech) we call the place where work is delivered PRACOVIŠTĚ which, translated into English is WORKPLACE.

But this was for my superior, the Japanese manager not enough and it was not enough for the Japanese language, because it needs to distinguish between physical work and the work in the office.

  • Blue-collar and White-collar
  • Workers and Officers or Managers
  • Subordinate and Superior

These are very important in Japanese society which strictly follows for thousands of years the Hierarchy system which is projected into everyday life and work.

The Japanese industry, mainly (but not only) Production and Logistics have for decades played the ROLE MODEL of efficiency and this is why even the terms have been adopted, but in fact do not work, because the people who use them did not grow in the Japanese society.

Western and US society adopt a lot from abroad and start to use it as a buzzword, for it sounds so “professional”, but frequently even the speaker does not know what he or she is talking about.

We did the same with the titles and roles of our jobs


Glorifying surface without knowing what is bellow

Coming back to GEMBA, it is even more strange, for looking at the Japanese vocabulary reflected in WIKIPEDIA as well


It would be interesting to learn when the new meaning of the word appears first.

No matter where it was the fact is that it is used to divide “MANUAL WORK” from “INTELECTUAL WORK”


as some feel “THE LOSERS” from “THE LEADERS”

I spend far too much time within management to know how people working with their hands, delivering palpable results so important for every company and society are being called and I will not repeat them, because they are against my own beliefs.

Participating recently in one LEADERSHIP EVENT I asked the speakers what would be more harmful to a company ONE WEEK ABSENCE OF CEO or ONE WEEK ABSENCE OF WORKER ON KEY POSITION ON THE PRODUCTION LINE.

The answer was a minute of silence

and switch to another question

This was just a small WAKE-UP call that make the “thinkers” think

When I left the corporate world, relief came and with that new perspective, I returned back to GEMBA, and more work was done by my hands than my mouth. I need one and half years to get rid of titles that were given to me during 23 years of my career development and on January 6, 2015, I stop to see myself as the OUT-OF-THE-BOX-THINKER and instead I become


because I realized that there are so many who feel like to be OUT-OF-THE-BOX-THINKERS, that the box is not visible, so how do they know they look outside of it?

With time even the meaning of the “OUT-OF-THE-BOX-THINKER” changed because nowadays it describes people who without any experience present themself as OUT-OF-THE-BOX-THINKER, confusing not only others but themself.



Be prepared that you may fail, for the first, second, and maybe the third time, but when you succeed, you start to change the world

Michael Rada, HUMAN



Michael Rada

I am HUMAN. This is the only title you can find after 30 years in business on my business card. Since 2013 I build wasteless world. I am founder of INDUSTRY 5.0