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Why innovation activities in Japan are not bringing the desired results

See below for the full English version

I am writing a column on #global #innovation and talent development strategies at 日本経済新聞(日経新聞) business daily for almost 5 years now.

I would like to share my #article that was published today.

This time I analyzed the reasons why innovation activities (#investing in #startups for synergy partnerships, #acceleration programs etc) at most Japanese companies are not bringing the desired results and shared my ideas to solve the problems.

Through our activities at Trusted helping Japanese companies build innovation foundation or execute concrete projects involving #European startup #ecosystem, we notice that most of #CEOs or #executives ask their innovation teams to do something innovative with startups without showing a clear actionable innovation #vision or #strategies.

This way innovation teams do their best based on their own assumptions what kind of projects they should be working on, struggling to get next budget or involve their colleagues from other departments in their projects, ending up doing everything by themselves, burned out, loosing motivation as they don’t see any concrete results for their efforts.

My message for CEOs and executives at large companies is to #take #action first themselves and visit different innovation ecosystems in Japan and abroad, catch up with the recent trends directly from the ecosystem members, clarify their innovation vision to involve potential collaborators externally and internally to realize their innovation vision. (At Trusted Corporation we can help arrange the visits in EU and visualize their innovation visions)

For the details please read the article text in the comment section.

Please feel free to share the article with people who might be interested.

Thank you


Many companies advocate the creation of new business axes and innovations in their medium-term management plans, etc., and make new attempts such as investing in new businesses and startups, but as a result, they are polarized. While there are organizations that are able to successfully involve the company and create new value and create new businesses, there are also many places that are frustrated because they cannot involve the company and external collaboration does not go well. I would like to delve into the causes of the differences and propose a direction for resolution.

What tends to happen is that even if a corporate venture capital is established once to create a new business and an acceleration program or an in-house business proposal program is implemented, after about three years the project planned by the person in charge of new business is put to an end because "we should stop doing things that do not produce results" and "do we need to do it?" Only executives are replaced, and once again, they repeat the slogan of creating new businesses and innovations.

What we have to understand is that innovation does not happen accidentally. Companies that contradict the status quo are the ones who show the direction they want to go in the future, and it's the fruit of what they can get after tenaciously going through a lot of trial and error.

German luxury car manufacturer Porsche has set up an innovation and advanced development management department in addition to its huge investment in startups and the establishment of an innovation office, to design the future of Porsche, to plan the integration and commercialization of ideas and technologies. It is said that the axis of planning is a brand that has been cultivated by the history of Porsche.

As a reference even when taking into account differences in countries and industries, it is important for executives to be clear in which direction they will start a new business or innovation before embarking on a new business or innovation. If this is not done, startup investments and acceleration programs will also rely on accidental innovation, leading to wasted investment of management resources and blurring of corporate brands.

Specifically, it is necessary to gather information on all aspects such as development departments, sales departments, customer voices, the latest technology, marketing, etc., and then indicate the direction of new business and innovation. Most of the companies that say "innovation doesn't happen" are not showing this direction, and they are repeatedly searching in the dark to investigate the unique technologies of startups.

Even if you think you have indicated a direction, it is not uncommon for it to be a discussion of business domains and technical surveys. As an organic company, we have not been able to present what kind of value we will present in society, what kind of contribution we will make to the future, and the general direction based on retrospective to the value of the existence of the company, and as a result, we may not be able to reach the point where employees are enthusiastic about it.

First, executives need to be specific about where their company is headed. It is important to be able to experience external values, global trends, and innovation firsthand, understand the value of your company's future existence from a theoretical and emotional point of view, and be able to talk to the entire company with enthusiasm, and this is the first key to innovation.

Originally from Uzbekistan. Graduated from Samarkand State University of Foreign Languages with a degree in English and Japanese Linguistics. Established SOPHYS, a human resources development consultancy, and Trusted, a global business development support company, in Tokyo.


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