Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

No Research-Based Judgment

“As I noted earlier we never judge our worker ideas based on research. That’s another kind of crutch that companies often lean on – “we’re going to test these ideas and whatever idea tests the best we’ll use.” But in an environment (particularly like Japan) where the culture is consensus driven and everybody wants to be in the middle you are never going to advance. If you asked people here 15 years ago “do you think you need an electric car?” “no”, “do you think you need a mini van?” “no we have station wagons” so SUVs never would have made it and there wouldn’t be a Prius.

Creativity is not about finding an acceptable level of agreement for the masses. It’s taking people to a place that they didn’t realise they should be going.”