Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

Mid-Level Creativity Killers

“There can be tension with the foreign management of the client company. The management may have a certain set of goals which may require creativity but the executional team may not be so creative. Japanese people do not tend to be and are not educated in such a way as to be creative and to take risks in their approaches to things. So, you can have conflict. The management would come to me and we’d have a discussion and say ‘let’s try this, that sounds good’ and then through the process of working with the local team the idea would get crunched into something that is extremely mediocre. This would then result in feedback and evaluation that the process was mediocre. Well of course the process was mediocre – nobody took any risks and the process was kind of hijacked.

I’m not saying this with any bitterness, it’s just part of the way things work but if you want to offer something which is a bit creative and involves some level of risk then you might find that very frustrating.”