Patterns of Creativity in Japan Lessons from Successful Japanese Companies – A Resource

Ikusei: Cultivating Creativity

Japanese companies tend to have a longer time horizon for creativity, allowing them to invest more time and money in cultivating their employees – results are not spontaneous like Western creativity but “compact, manicured, and highly structured – like a rice paddy or a bonsai plant.”

This idea is behind the government’s policy of protecting and promoting industries.

Example: NEC – “In Japan, employees are tightly squeezed in all aspects of their lives. They have very little freedom like Americans. However, in NEC, employees were allowed to pursue their interests in areas beneficial to the company, which they did with great zeal. It was a kind of focused creativity.” (Keisuke Yawata, former executive at NEC).

Source: Tatsuno, S. (1990). Created in Japan: from imitators to world-class innovators.