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

Fission Vs. Fusion

Western-style creativity is like an explosion from single sources (fission). Japanese creativity is more like ‘fusion’ – ideas from the many are “gathered, assimilated, and squeezed” into a new product or idea.

This can in turn trigger a new explosion of ideas.

Example: Fujitsu – “Our creativity occurs underwater out of sight. Creative ideas from individuals are merged with those of the group, which are combined with good ideas from other groups….(this) may not look creative or unique to Americans, but it represents the best ideas of many people.” (Katsuhide Hirai, Director of Information Systems at Fujitsu America)

Example: Japanese software systems are built on this approach. They are usually integrated, in-house systems which are highly specialized – compare this to the more universal approach of Western software which often needs patches to link incompatible systems.

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