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

The KJ Method

The KJ Method is a brainstorming method developed by Professor Kawakita Jiro.

Present a theme; Ask participants to write down as many ideas as possible onto small cards (limit length to 20-30 Japanese characters or similar); Organise cards into categories of 50-100 cards; Sort categories into subcategories of 20-30 cards; Hang up a large sheet of paper or use a white board; Relax; Write down all ideas that come to mind (these may be related or unrelated, or different perspectives on the theme); Record all ideas in such a way as to make their meaning and relationships understandable; This should generate a conceptual, visual map; Read aloud the groups of ideas on the conceptual picture and write down new ideas that are triggered by the picture or discussion.

Example: Dr. Yasusada Kitahara of NTT used this method in writing his book on the future of Japanese telecommunications.

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

See “Four Japanese Brainstorming Methods” – PDF REPORT DOWNLOAD