Adoption of the word gemba has lagged behind adoption of the kaizen concept in the world. This is unfortunate but understandable; being present on the gemba can be a greater mind-set and behavior change than simply doing kaizen.
The Cambridge Business English Dictionary is one of a few sources, as of November 2011, to give the definition of gemba as an English word:
in Japanese business theory, the place where things happen
in manufacturing, used to say that people whose job is to
manufacture products are in a good place to make
improvements in the manufacturing process
This definition captures the spirit of gemba as it pertains to kaizen, but we must first understand gemba in its broader context beyond manufacturing.