Through his experiences, Kazuhiko Katsushima saw the importance of experiential learning and conceived of a ‘reverse innovation’ strategy to spur the growth of the global healthcare industry.
“Life is to seek why we are born.”
It was a near-death experience that helped Kazuhiko Katsushima understand the paramount importance of health. Approximately 10 years ago, Katsushima-san was caught in a bicycle accident. Losing his consciousness for about 30 minutes, he finally got to the doctor’s and was diagnosed with the damage of some nerve endings in his arm. With this, he could not write or use the chopsticks until his arm had recovered.
Katsushima-san shares that such an experience has helped to better define the life motto that he held close to himself since his high school times. “Life is to seek why we are born”, we live to seek the purpose we were born to fulfil. Key to the fulfilment of our purposes is health. Without the basic pre-requisite of health, we are unable to focus on working towards any dreams or aspirations that we might seek to fulfil.
In the project Katsushima-san heads at Konica Minolta today, the team aims to provide increased accessibility to healthcare providers. Across Asia today, many individuals are in critical lack of access to medical services. As Katsushima-san shares, the underprivileged are in a state where they have no choice but to relinquish their lives. He cites his exposure at Cambodia as an example. When the tuk-tuk drivers are injured or sick, they are only able to afford self-medication due to the absence of insurance coverage. In situations where they are critically ill, they have no choice but to leave it to fate as healthcare is generally sparse in these areas and getting to medical attention in the urban areas are costly.
Katsushima-san is now adopting an approach he calls “reverse innovation” to drive changes in the healthcare industry. In countries like Japan, where there are pre-existing solutions that have been locally optimised, a certain level of resistance to change is present. Through investments in healthcare innovation in other neighbouring Southeast Asian countries, the company will develop successful technology and services that will be imported back into developed countries like Japan thereafter. By primarily resolving the limited supply of medical resources and universal healthcare services in underdeveloped countries, the company will gain traction and experience in the area of preventive healthcare. This sets the foundation for the growth of a knowledge base key for the countering of issues that may arise with Japan’s ageing society. Success with these developments would also fuel stakeholder confidence in the conservative culture that the Japanese market is in today. With the provision of universal healthcare access, Konica Minolta enables individuals to obtain timely affordable diagnosis and has their eyes set on making healthcare globally accessible.
As someone who has always followed a traditional, conservative mindset, Katsushima-san is gradually shifting his viewpoints. His reflections of his past have unveiled the importance of exploring new experiences and motivates him to take on the practice of “lifelong learning”. At the age of 31 (approximately 9 years ago), he started to learn the piano in hope to play a duet with his daughter someday. Katsushima-san cheerily shares that he can now play Bach’s Minuet in G after years of committed training.
Just as how Katsushima-san has opened his heart and mind to the need for evolution in both self and society, it will not be long before the Japanese society gains momentum and optimism towards the need for change. With the emergence of groups like DBIC Singapore and companies like Konica Minolta taking the step forward, it is hopeful that Japan will undergo a huge advancement in the near future.
This post was written by Narcissa Koh, Content Strategist of DBIC.