The process of development of the strategic plan for Southampton Solent University offered a vehicle for the development of kaizen and knowledge management (KM) activities within the institution. The essential overlap between the methods offers clear benefits in the HE environment. In consideration of the aspects of KM and kaizen, various potential opportunities were identified as targets for improvement, and clarified by knowledge audit as to value and viability. The derived outcomes are listed along with some of the principal factors and perceived barriers in the practical implementation of the outcomes. Knowledge audit applied here focused on the identification of where value arises within the business. Resource constraints and the practicalities of a people‑centred system limit the permissible rate of innovation, so precise focus on the areas of business activity of most significance to the mission and client base is crucial. The fundamental question of whether such a strategy should be developed as a separate strand or embedded into existing strategies is discussed. In practice, Solent has chosen to embed, principally for reasons of maintenance of ownership and commitment. Confidence in the process has been built through prior success with trialled activities around retention, where an activity‑ based pedagogic framework was adopted to address issues with an access course. Other areas of early intervention include the development and reengineering of recruitment and admissions processes, and the development of activities and pedagogy based on the virtual learning environment as exemplars of the importance of cyclical feedback in continuous improvement. The inherent complexity of processes running across the university as an organisation offers opportunities for benefits from the through‑process approach implicit in kaizen. The business value of the institution is in the skills of its employees and its deployed intellectual property, and thus the importance of the enhancement of both tangible assets and intangible processes is critical to future success.