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Changing Perspectives of Expats: Shifting from Information Gathering to Cultivating Useful Presence

Trusted Corporation's CEO column in Nikkei Business Daily, this month, is about enhancing expatriate engagement in overseas business communities for strategic success by empowering them to foster meaningful contributions. Read below for the English translation:

In the current business landscape, numerous Japanese companies are dispatching representatives overseas with the aim of capturing insights into rapidly evolving global business trends, cutting-edge technologies, and new avenues for business expansion.

It's widely recognized that a precise comprehension of dynamic global business trends and cutting-edge technologies significantly influences the rise and fall of businesses. Therefore, while formulating business strategies, management must aptly grasp and consider worldwide trends, advancements in technology, as well as influences on other countries emanating from decisions made by entities like the United Nations and the EU.

However, it's not just about accessing information available on the internet from Japan. It's crucial to also understand the local context and dynamics, bridging the gap between remote research and on-ground realities. This understanding is pivotal in crafting effective strategic roadmaps and timelines.

To this end, organizations are deploying expatriates to engage with bustling overseas business communities and ecosystems that are capturing significant attention. The objective is to streamline information gathering.

Nonetheless, a common challenge arises. Despite their presence within local communities or ecosystems, individuals often struggle to deeply engage, leading to limited substantive discussions and collaborative projects. Our clients' expatriates, for instance, frequently seek advice on successfully assimilating into overseas communities. They aim to extract valuable insights from these ecosystems but often lack the know-how, and encounters with desired startups remain elusive. In such instances, our company often plays a role in connecting these individuals with key local contacts.

As a result, expatriates often find themselves caught between the pressure of "acquiring elusive information from Japan" and the barriers presented by foreign communities. This predicament frequently leads to expatriates becoming disconnected and entrenched within their Japanese circles.

This challenge surpasses mere linguistic and cross-cultural barriers. The crux of the issue lies in the very purpose of "information gathering" itself.

From an international perspective, regardless of the reputation of Japanese corporations, their intricate business details remain unfamiliar, leaving little room for immediate engagement. Moreover, with a constant influx of global businesspeople and investors, sharing intimate business insights without substantial reason is rare.

A potential solution lies in prioritizing contribution to and collaboration within the community before embarking on information collection endeavors. This requires a shift in mindset. While the notion that European and American business communities are strictly transactional prevails, it's essential to recognize that building relationships of trust is equally vital. Europe, in particular, values these relationships and places significant emphasis on trustworthiness, shared values, and information exchange.

Hence, prior to extracting information, the groundwork involves establishing trust through meaningful contributions. This could entail active participation in community events, initiatives that invigorate the business ecosystem, facilitating introductions that align with others' needs, and disseminating valuable insights, regardless of their size. By becoming a source of usefulness, genuine engagement and trust can be established. This seemingly straightforward concept, however, often proves elusive in practice.

By engaging with and contributing to the community, invaluable insights and trends emerge that transcend the limitations of online research. Organizations should empower expatriates with the autonomy to make decisions regarding community involvement, allocating dedicated budgets for these endeavors. Without such empowerment, employees stationed abroad might end up missing opportunities due to a dependency on hierarchical decision-making.

Shifting the perspective from "information gathering" to "value-driven presence" holds the potential to fuel successful business strategies, offering expatriates a meaningful and effective approach to overseas deployment.

Trusted Corporation

Innovation Architect/オープンイノベーション体制づくりから事業開発まで

Startup Finder/スタートアップリサーチサービス

105-6415, 15F, Toranomon Hills Business Tower

1-17-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan


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