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Japan faces various problems, such as a shrinking market due to population decline and a decline in competitiveness. What kind of perspective is necessary to create innovation in such a situation?
In order to explore that hint, at the MASHING UP conference vol.5 held on November 19, 2021, “Innovation 2022” was held.
The speaker was the CMO of Paidy, which provides a postpaid service. Cobari Clettimari SilviaAfter working for JINS, an eyeglass brand, he now belongs to the digital creative studio Sun*, which handles product development and business strategy planning.Ichitaka Inoueand Shiseido’s R&D Strategy Department Manager, working as a project leader for the open innovation program fibona.Yuko NakanishiMr. Miss. How do leaders involved in innovation creation on the front lines perceive what is necessary for innovation, what is unnecessary, and Japan’s hidden potential?
Innovation is created by “people”
(From left) MASHING UP editor-in-chief Endo, Paidy’s Silvia, Sun*’s Inoue, and Shiseido’s Nakanishi served as moderators.
Photo: Mika Nakayama
When it comes to innovation, I get the impression that the threshold is high and difficult. In addition, some say that innovation is more difficult to occur in large companies with long histories. What about Shiseido?
fibona is an open innovation activity that aims to create new value through the fusion of the knowledge of Shiseido researchers and various people outside the company. Work on acceleration aimed at co-creation with startup companies and co-creation through communication with customers. After joining the company, Mr. Nakanishi, who started as a researcher in cosmetics formulation development research and currently leads fibona, talks about the purpose of open innovation.
“fibona is an activity to create new things beyond cosmetics by connecting with startups and ordinary people.. In the first place, Shiseido has set a goal that goes beyond cosmetics: “a sustainable world where people can experience happiness through the power of beauty” (Mr. Nakanishi).
At JINS, Mr. Inoue has experience working from the development stage on a business that collects healthcare data and measures concentration with an eyeglass-type device called JINS MEME. moreover,”I want to be involved in a new businessWith this in mind, I am currently working at Sun*, a digital creative studio.In order to increase the resources for management and creative human resources necessary for business development, as well as the IT human resources that are in short supply, I will provide Japanese language and engineering to Southeast Asia. We are working on creating an environment for education and developing infrastructure to start new businesses.
“I know a time when Japanese manufacturing was strong, so I really want to revitalize innovation in Japan.Innovation is ultimately about people. I want to gather diverse people, share knowledge, and actively create new things.” (Mr. Inoue)
No innovation without taking risks
Paidy CMO Kovali Clecmari Silvia. I am from Hungary. She graduated from the College of Liberal Arts, University of Tokyo. Based in Tokyo and New York, she has experienced 7 Japanese and foreign companies with different business types and sizes, such as Dentsu, Ernst & Young (EY), one of the world’s four largest accounting firms, and Netflix Japan. Incumbent since 2019.
Photo: Mika Nakayama
The news that Paidy, which provides a postpaid service, was acquired by PayPal Holdings for 300 billion yen in 2021 is also fresh in our memory. How do fast-growing startups deal with business risks?
“Usually, you need a credit card or wallet for shopping. To provide a smoother shopping experience, Paidy has created a system that allows you to shop as long as you have an email address and mobile phone number. However, without taking risks, innovation will not occur.” (Sylvia)
The source of this innovation is staff with diverse backgrounds from about 30 countries. Sylvia said,Diversity creates innovation’” and talks about the company’s corporate culture.
“In addition to diversity, design thinking and smooth CX that support people’s actions, not being afraid of change and conflict, and above all, sticking to action to produce resultsI value that.” (Sylvia)
Let’s go back to “the joy of talking to people”
Mr. Kazutaka Inoue, Sun* Business Development Section Manager. After working as a strategy consultant, he joined JINS, an eyewear brand. He also served as director of a new business, Think Lab. His books include “Regain Your Deep Concentration – What a Concentration Super Professional Arrived at, More Important than Meditation Than Hacking” (Diamond Publishing).
Photo: Mika Nakayama
Next, he talked about the conditions for producing innovation. Mr. Inoue said,Communicating with someone who has a different brain than you” he said.
“What is important is how people with different abilities create synergies.It is important to create a mindset that “it’s just fun to talk to people who are different from you.”(Mr. Inoue)
“By talking to people who are different from you, you can find out what you want to do,” says Nakanishi.
“In the first place, even if you want to create innovation, it is often not clear what you want to do.Talking with people who have different brains allows you to introspect. I think that is very important for innovation.” (Mr. Nakanishi)
When you decide what to throw away, you can see what you should do
Yuko Nakanishi, manager of Shiseido’s R&D strategy department. While engaging in formulation development research for skin care products, she was engaged in research centered on people, such as “How do people feel about this texture?” Her research using a design thinking approach led her to her current post.
Photo: Mika Nakayama
Also,”Innovation also requires a culture of subtraction’ said Sylvia.
“By combining various things and people, you can create something better. However, I believe that if you throw away everything you don’t need, leave only what you need, and decide what you don’t want to do, you can create something wonderful.
First of all, you should stop doubting yourself. It’s okay to question your common sense, but if you start questioning yourself, you’ll lose confidence and you’ll lose your dreams.” (Sylvia)
Mr. Nakanishi said, “People in large companies tend to carry too much on their shouldersso,” he pointed out.
“I think that the world we see will change if we throw away the company and “the person who carries that company on our backs.”. If you try to be true to what the company says, you’ll be locked in.There must be something that comes from an individual’s thoughts(Mr. Nakanishi)
And finally, “It may be extreme, butThrow away the controller and managementI think,” says Inoue.
“Especially in katakana management, each issue is divided into slots, subordinates are assigned to those slots, and their actions are monitored.What is needed is not a framework, but an axis, and the ideal is for members to gather around that axis.. If you can gather members who are passionate about creating new things, you don’t need management.” (Mr. Inoue)
Possibilities hidden in Japanese national character
In order for Japanese companies to gain global competitiveness again in the future, how should they make the most of their unique perspectives? Mr. Nakanishi said, “It’s like ‘beauty that strips away’.Specialize in simplificationI think,” he says.
“medical and food sourceSuch a holistic view of the world where you can feel that nature and food are all connected, isn’t it?” (Mr. Nakanishi)
to this,”It looks like we can innovate to eliminate waste from the culture of subtraction.. There is still a lot of waste in the world. Create new value by eliminating waste,It is only Japanese people can make use of waste from the spirit of “mottainai”’ said Sylvia.
Finally, I asked what innovation means to these three people. “to dream”(Sylvia), ”Things that excite people as a result of being engrossed”(Mr. Inoue), ”increase people’s happiness(Mr. Nakanishi)
Innovation is neither an unreasonable task nor a miracle. By gathering a diverse range of people, throwing away unnecessary things, and discerning the essence, you may find hints that will inspire you.
MASHING UP conference vol.5
Silvia Kobari Clecmari (Paidy CMO), Kazutaka Inoue (Sun Asterisk Business Development Section Manager), Yuko Nakanishi (Shiseido R&D Strategy Department Manager), Yuko Endo (Mediagene MASHING UP Editor-in-Chief / Mediagene Executive Officer)
Reprinted from MASHING UP (Released on May 2, 2022)
Rie Nakajima: Writer. She graduated from the Faculty of International Culture, Kobe University. While studying in England, she was inspired by news articles about poverty in Africa, and set her sights on becoming a writer. After working for a publishing company, she became independent, and she writes and edits in a wide range of genres such as lifestyle, business, environment, and international issues.