Lean-Driven Innovation: Powering Product Development at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company


  • Provides an unprecedented look at the successful application of lean to the innovation creation process.
  • Illustrates validated lean principles and key concepts with a case study of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
  • Explains how Goodyear was able to reduce its product development cycle times by 70 percent, achieve close to 100 percent on-time delivery, and improve throughput three-fold — all without an increase in budget.
  • Outlines a practical path for implementation.

In 2005, Goodyear’s research and development (R&D) engine was not performing up to its full potential. The R&D organization developed high-quality tires, but the projects were not always successful. Goodyear embarked on a major initiative to transform its innovation creation processes by learning, understanding, and applying lean product development principles. Within five years, Goodyear saw its product development cycle times slashed by 70 percent, on-time delivery performance rise close to 100 percent, and throughput improve three-fold – all achieved with no increase in the R&D budget.

Lean-Driven Innovation: Powering Product Development at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company describes in great detail how the Goodyear team was able to achieve such significant improvements. Revealing the ups and downs of this successful transformation, the book shares experiences of how this seismic change was managed, how people were engaged, and how Goodyear dramatically reinvigorated its product development and innovation processes—and, in the process, delivered substantial more value to customers and to the company.

The book also explains how lean product development helped Goodyear dramatically improve revenue by having every new product available when the market needed it. Presenting wide-ranging perspectives from all levels of leadership, this book is ideal for anyone in R&D daring to take on a lean initiative in R&D or who is struggling with a lean transformation that is not delivering to its full potential. Since the book focuses on universal lean principles, it is as insightful to other manufacturing and non-manufacturing disciplines in any industry as well.

The book presents invaluable insights gained by the author during his 36 years within Goodyear, of which 10 have been directly involved in trying to develop, implement, and sustain lean to achieve the company’s business objectives. It distills ideas, practices, failures, and successes into key principles that lean product development practitioners can easily implement.

After reading this book, you will gain a practical path for applying lean to the innovation processes of your organization, including where to begin and what to do, regardless of the industry and the status of your transformation.

Lean-Driven Innovation is available from CRC Press
Lean-Driven Innovation is available from Amazon

About the Author

Norbert Majerus
Owner and Founder – Norbert Majerus Consulting Ltd.
Lean Champion, Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Book Author
Shingo Fellow and Prize Winner
AME Volunteer

Beginning in 2005, Norbert implemented a principles-based lean product development process at the three global innovation centers of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. For more than a decade he was Goodyear’s lean champion in research and development.

In 2016, Norbert published his first book, Lean-Driven Innovation, which received the Shingo Research Award. Also in 2016, with Norbert’s guidance the Goodyear R&D organization applied for and received the AME Excellence Award. Norbert published his second book, Winning Innovation in 2022.

Norbert, born and raised in Luxembourg, has a Master’s degree in Chemistry from the Universitaet des Saarlandes, Saarbruecken, Germany, and worked most of the disciplines in the Goodyear innovation centers in Luxembourg and Akron.

Norbert has taught workshops and has spoken at many conferences in the United States and other countries. Since retiring from Goodyear in 2017, he continues to share his extensive lean expertise via Norbert Majerus Consulting and as a board member of LPPDE (Lean Product and Process Development Exchange).

Contact Norbert Majerus


Reviews & Endorsements

"When I first got to know Norbert Majerus at an LPPDE conference some years ago, I felt he was a remarkable man. He was sure of his deep knowledge, but he also was very interested in learning more, a lot more. This is a sign of a true lean practitioner. In Lean-Driven Innovation, Norbert shares some of his deep knowledge with us, and puts it in place with clear principles and real examples. He shows that focusing on true customer value — instead of the traditional focus on R&D cost — really pays off, and that building new value streams is the true objective for a product development organization. I love the last chapter Lean Never Ends, showing that the journey has just begun!"Peter PalmerSenior Manager Process Support, Scania, Board Member of LPPDE
"Norbert Majerus is a remarkable engineer and an extraordinary storyteller. This book tells the story of how he and his colleagues have taken their understanding of the basics of lean and applied it to the difficult task of product development. He is one of the few people I know who has so completely absorbed the concepts of the book, Factory Physics, that he has been able to apply them in a completely new environment—product innovation." Mark L. SpearmanCo-author of Factory Physics and Former Department Head, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University
"In Lean-Driven Innovation, Norbert Majerus brings insight and understanding to how Goodyear successfully applied lean principles to its R&D processes, and he offers readers the know-how and encouragement to do the same. The book is especially effective at showing how Goodyear has been able to make its R&D capacity visible and manageable, repetitively surfacing and resolving constraint issues and regularly improving the innovation process. These principles will help non-manufacturing processes far beyond R&D as well, such as administration, services, and healthcare." Peg PenningtonExecutive Director, Center for Operational Excellence, The Ohio State University
"Norbert’s work is a particularly impactful effort as it is not purely academic or theoretical, but rather based and vetted upon the years of hard-fought experiences and knowledge gained at Goodyear throughout its lean product development journey. Readers will undoubtedly gain insights into a number of promising continual improvement processes that may be applied at their companies for immediate and positive impact." Rich GildersleeveChief Technology Officer, DJO LLC
"A candid and well-told story of the process by which a strong and innovative engineering culture incorporated the powerful principles of lean product development." Don ReinertsenAuthor of The Principles of Product Development Flow,
"Lean-Driven Innovation provides a set of guiding principles for how to build an innovative organization that are based on science and hard-won experience. The principles are brought to life by great examples from Goodyear’s impressive lean transformation in R&D. This is a must-read for innovation leaders. Although based on a transformation in R&D, the thinking applies equally well to software development and other project-based knowledge work." Peter T. WardDirector, Center for Operational Excellence, The Ohio State University

Table of Contents

Goodyear Today: Lean Product Development
Goodyear Results from Lean Product Development
Lean R&D Helps Develop Profitable Value Streams
This Lean “Stuff” Really Works
Goodyear’s Brief History of Lean Product Development
Lean Is a Lot of Work
Lean Principles

Success to Survival to a Foundation for Lean
The Golden Age of Tire Technology
Early Building Blocks for Lean
Use of Product and Process Standards
Knowledge Management Office
New Business Objectives

The Beginning of a Lean Process
The First Kaikaku—Eroding Profits at Goodyear
Change Management
Changes for the Worse
Policemen, Ambulances, and the Downward Spiral
Outside Help Does not Help Out Enough
Matrix and Project Management
Lean Firsts at Goodyear

Finding and Removing Waste from Product Development
Focus on the Customer
What Do Customers Value?
Value and Waste
Muda, Muri, and Mura
Waste Removal Gets Underway at Goodyear

Making New-Product Value Flow
Break Down Large Projects into Quick Learning Cycles
Early Attempts at Visual Planning
Finding Our Bottleneck—Herbie Meets Herbie
The Kaikaku We Needed
Exploring Pull and Flow Concepts
The Turning Point
Fast is Better than Slow
Create a Kaikaku
Pit Crew Tries to Accelerate Speed

Lean and Innovation
Dispelling Lean Innovation Myths
Discovery of Lean Tools in the Innovation Creation Process
It Takes More than One Process
Create Capacity and Resources for Innovation
Funding the Innovation Space
Innovation Talent and Serial Innovators
Add Room for Failure to the Innovation Space
Standardizing Innovation
Managing Incoming Work
Manage Work Entering the Product Creation Process
Cost of Delay (COD)
Goodyear COD Calculation
Creating Customer Value and Profits
Lean Innovation Killers
More Innovation than Ever Before
Goodyear Innovation Awards

Operating the Lean Product Development Factory
From Lean Initiative to Lean Function
Get the Process Right and Results Will Follow
Lean Support—Accounting for Value
Responsibility for Quality
The End of the Herbie Story—Managing Purpose, Process, and People
Lean Purpose
Lean Process
Lean People
Improve R&D Efficiency—It Is OK to be Selfish
Lean Expectations and Endurance

Lean Never Ends
Lean Courage
Get Started


August 13, 2015 by Productivity Press
Reference – 493 Pages – 54 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781482259681 – CAT# K24197