No industry can escape the impact of digital disruption.
It is time for Japanese companies to explore and experiment with innovations overseas, together with local start-ups and partners.
A humorous, down to earth entrepreneur who is increasingly engaged in diverse forms of businesses across the globe, Nishino Hiroshi is the co-founder of Digital Business Innovation Center (DBIC) and program owner of its Singapore Innovation Program. “As long as you’ve got freedom, you’ve got responsibility.” Inspired by his father’s last words, Hiroshi-san emphasises on the importance of responsibility and consistently gives back to society through initiatives that impact especially the handicapped, young and the aged. As he shares, these groups in society require additional assistance with the greater difficulties in adapting to changes in the environment. Amongst his various volunteering ventures, DBIC was one where he saw the responsibility to lead in, to better the future of the young blood in Japan.
In the Japanese economy, the culture of “being one with the company” and practice of lifetime employment often erodes consideration of external environments. This is a big barrier for firms when the need to challenge and go beyond conventional thinking is increasingly prominent with the changing world. In today’s context, the sustainability of Japan’s past successes is threatened and there is a need to start something different. Through the mobilisation of his resources in the research field and personal conversations with leaders of Japanese corporations, the magnitude of the impact on Japan became more apparent to Hiroshi-san. This is “a big wave of change”. Motivated to help leaders understand the situation, Hiroshi-san set out to aggregate organisations in an effort to better the future of Japan.
Together with his co-founder Yokotsuka Hiroshi, the duo set out with the mission to create a revolution in the Japanese society. With their understanding of the Japanese, conferences, seminars and books were insufficient to change fixed mindsets. Tapping onto the collectivistic culture of the country, they designed an innovation acceleration program that put representative teams from corporations in first-hand experiences of creation.
When asked about the era of innovation he seeks to lead in Japan, Hiroshi-san says, “it’s quite simple”. By injecting feelings into the knowledge and experience corporates have accumulated, companies are encouraged to go back to the basics, to fully develop the 5 senses to incorporate the rudimentary needs of the world across considerations. The DBIC program positions executives in a challenging and open environment, fuelling their determination and mindset to confront innovation. “If you do nothing, you are very narrow minded.” As a strong advocate of new experiences, Hiroshi-san shares that future plans include lessons with professional chefs, artists and musicians in the creation of new forms that engage the senses. Through these experiences, participants will learn how to incorporate their feelings into innovation activities and come to understand its importance.
“Communicating to each other smoothly, sharing and doing something together.”
In his parting message, Hiroshi-san shares of the importance of interpersonal communications. Altruism lies in the core of humanity and is something we can and should do as members of the society. Hiroshi-san was not alone in his endeavours and has met many interesting people along his fruitful journey.
This post was written by Narcissa Koh, Content Strategist of DBIC.