Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

Technology Use

“I find it hard to get people excited about this, which is surprising. I am fascinated by how low the level of ITC and technology is in market research in Japan. It’s way behind America. (C: For example?) Say you have a central location test, an ad test. You may have a hall in Shibuya or Jiyugaoka or wherever. In the States that’s all computerized. I understand that there are issues with people not being able to type in Japan but that is not the real reason (that they are not computerized here). The technology is available to provide the data at the time the fieldwork ends, not a week later. There is a lack of (in my mind) openness to technology, which is weird because Japanese companies produce so much technological innovation.

I do think that technology can be a creative response to a problem – looking at a process and thinking about how that process could be made more efficient. There was one piece of software, for example, which (while I wouldn’t say I had to force people to use it) I couldn’t get my people to buy into until it became extremely necessary for them to use it. And now that they use it things have improved out of sight.”

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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