Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

Formula Based Creativity

“When you look at art and design, it’s all based on formulas and templates. There is very little Japanese art which isn’t kaizen (incremental improvement). If you study Japanese art like sumi-e or ikebana you will notice that everything is run by rules. It is a very rule-laden culture. In a corporate environment working in a field like technology for instance, ground-breaking is a difficult thing to find in Japan. The incremental improvement – taking an idea and really making it better and working it out – is their real strength.”

This post is part of a series of excerpts from interviews with foreign executives in Japan, focusing on creativity. Excerpts have been edited for confidentiality.
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