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

Cultivate the ‘Zero’

Bringing in outsiders on different or more ambiguous terms to regular staff can create a ‘Zero’ – someone who is employed by the company but feels as if he is ‘in a cloud’ or ‘floating’. Such people may feel less pressure to conform, find it easier to talk directly to higher management, and develop a radically different perspective on the firm.

Of course, care is needed so as not to marginalize the Zero.

Example: From a confidential interview with a manager at a large Japanese company.

Source: Confidential Interview (2008)