Gwendolyn Galsworth

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Gwendolyn Galsworth is president and founder of Visual Thinking, Inc. and an author, researcher, teacher, consultant, publisher and thought leader in the field of "visuality" in the workplace. Her books, which have won multiple Shingo Prize awards in the Research and Professional Publication category, focus on conceptualizing and codifying workplace visuality into a single framework called the "visual workplace".

She was one of the ten original members of the Productivity Inc. team assembled by Norman Bodek in the early 1980s to establish that company as the premier resource for books and intelligence from Japan that documented and explained what was then called The Japanese Manufacturing Miracle, and is now widely known as the Toyota Production System.

Today, she continues to consult, teach, and produce books, videos and webinars in her field. She is a frequent keynote speaker on the business improvement conference circuit, and also hosts a weekly web-based radio show called The Visual Workplace, with over 70,000 listeners monthly.

Early life and education[edit]

Galsworth was born in upper New York State to Russian mother Geraldine and Swiss father Donato Galsworth, she graduated from Long Branch Senior High school, and four years later graduated from Montclair State Teachers College (New Jersey) at the top of her Latin class.[citation needed] After her first year of teaching Latin in Kinnelon, New Jersey, she started an acting career in NYC, studying at the Gene Frankel Studio. Two years later (1968), Galsworth traveled in Europe for a year and a half, learning French and Italian and continuing to act.

Returning to NYC in the 70s, Galsworth joined an experimental acting group, The Performance Garage, and then traveled back to Europe to study acting with Jerzy Grotowski in Poland. That connection brought her to Paris a few months later to audition, by special invitation, for Peter Brook and his London-based National Repertory Theatre. On her second return to New York, she enrolled in Hunter College for a Master’s in Special Education for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, with the intention of establishing a theatre where deaf people performed not with the language of signing, such as the National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) promoted, but through a unique language of physical and sound images that deaf actors would invent from their own expressive needs. Though NTD ultimately dominated the field and Galsworth did not complete this degree, her interest in visual and sensory language equivalents had begun. Galsworth received both her Masters (1981) and PHD in Education and Statistics (1984) from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.[citation needed]

Productivity, Inc.[edit]

A chance connection in 1983 led her to Productivity, Inc. and the new offices of Norman Bodek, where she soon became head of Training, Consulting, and Development. Her work as head of training and development at Productivity brought her into close working contact many Japanese master practitioners, including the co-architect of the Toyota Production System, Shigeo Shingo, head of the Shingijutsu Consulting Group Yoshiki Iwata, Sumitomo’s Ryuji Fukuda, as well as Seiichi Nakajima and Hiroyuki Hirano.

Over the next six years, Galsworth led study missions to Japan, and worked closely with Dr. Ryuji Fukuda to develop his CEDAC methodology into a process that western companies could deploy. In 1988, a year before his passing, Dr. Shigeo Shingo assigned Galsworth the development of his Poka-Yoke/Zero Defect paradigm into a more complete and western-oriented improvement methodology.[1]

Quality Methods International, Inc.[edit]

Leaving Productivity in 1990, Galsworth formed Quality Methods International (QMI) in order to specialize in the research, articulation, and deployment of workplace visuality as single, sustainable improvement framework. Since then, she has focused on codifying a range of principles and practices, resulting in an array of methods called the technologies of the visual workplace.[2]

During this same decade, Galsworth became a Malcolm Baldrige Award Examiner and an examiner for The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence. She remained a Shingo Examiner through 2009.

In 2009, The Shigeo Shingo Prize Office at Utah State University invited Galsworth to create an online course on the visual workplace as part of its newly launched Shingo Prize E-Curriculum in Operational Excellence. Its title was The Visual Workplace/Visual Thinking Online Course, the first external course in the Shingo Prize curriculum.

Visual Thinking, Inc[edit]

In 2012, Galsworth changed the name of her company to Visual Thinking, Inc. to more closely align with its purpose. Shortly before, she was invited to host her own weekly internet radio show on VoiceAmerica, named The Visual Workplace/Work That Makes Sense.[3]


  • 2011: Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award for Work That Makes Sense: Operator-led Visuality[4]
  • 2006: Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award for Visual Workplace/Visual Thinking: Creating Enterprise Excellence Through the Technologies of the Visual Workplace[5]


Books by Galsworth[edit]

  • Smart Simple Design, Oliver Wright Publications, 1994
  • Visual Systems: Harnessing the Power of a Visual Workplace, Amacom Press, 1997
  • Visual Workplace-Visual Thinking: Creating Enterprise Excellence Through the Technologies of the Visual Workplace, Visual-Lean Enterprise Press, 2006
  • Work that Makes Sense: Operator-Led Visuality, Visual-Lean Enterprise Press, 2011
  • The Visual Workplace/Visual Order Instructor Guide, Visual-Lean Enterprise Press, 2005


  • The Visual Workplace: Letting the Workplace Speak, The Lean Handbook, (2012) Tony Manos and Chad Vincent, editors


  • Invasion of the Kaizen Blitzers, Target Magazine, (March–April 1995)[6]
  • The Value of Vision, Industrial Engineer (August 2004)[7]
  • The Visual Pharmaceutical Workplace, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (January 2006) [8]
  • Advancing Quality Though Visual Thinking, Quality Digest (February 2009) [9]
  • The Visual Workplace: Translating Vital Information into Exact Behavior, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (May 2009) [10]
  • The Visual Workplace, Quality Digest (August 5, 2010)[11]
  • Visual Devices: Letting the Workplace Speak, Quality Digest (August 12, 2010)
  • Information Deficits and the Visual Workplace, Quality Digest (August 19, 2010)
  • What The Operator Sees, Lean Management Journal (July 2012) [12]
  • Vistaprint’s Secret: Sensory Information-Sharing, Lean Management Journal (March 2013)
  • Hidden in Plain Sight, Lean Management Journal (July 2013)


  1. ^ "Profiles in Quality with Gwendolyn D. Galsworth, Ph.D". Quality Digest. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  2. ^ "Visual Workplace Consultants | Visual Thinking Training | Visual Lean Office". 2013-09-27. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  3. ^ "The Visual Workplace | VoiceAmerica™". Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  4. ^ "The Shingo Prize – A World Standard…For a Global Economy". Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  5. ^ "Shingo Prize : Past Recipients" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  6. ^,
  7. ^ "ISE Magazine - September 2021".
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