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The Real Reason Japan Can’t Innovate & What To Do About It

Key points:

  • Japanese companies are too conservative
  • They have the ability to enter new markets but they have a lack of motivation
  • Emerging external solution: shifting investment from R&D to CVC (Corporate Venture Capital)
  • Possible in-house solution: Valuing technical skills rather than academic skills

The Real Reason Japan Can’t Innovate & What To Do About It

This post is originally from

Executive Summary written by Dakota Midoux, from J-Global institute, a company founded by Jon James Lynch.

Ichihiro Amimori worked at Fujifilm for 20 years but the photography film market had become weak in terms of opportunities. In addition to that, he became tired of the slow decision making process knowing that he could do it all by himself, so he created his own company called Xenoma.

The company sells a product called e-skin, a tight fitting shirt that can sense the movements of its wearer and act as an inexpensive, accurate motion capturing device. With this product, Xenoma wants to target 40% of the population via the gaming, medical, and sports sectors.

Ichihiro Amimori explains that big Japanese companies are not sustainable because they are too conservative to enter the new market, while Americans are considered as early adopters.

The problem really seems to be motivation, instead of ability. Japanese companies continue to do fantastic primary research and have significant cash reserves. However, they find it hard to take risks on new products, this is shifting though. For example, they are shifting from investing in their own R&D to CVC (Corporate Venture Capital).

If there would be one thing to change in Japan according to Ichihiro Amimori, it would be the willingness to take risks.  Ichihiro’s solution to that would be to give less credit to education and look more at technical skills.

Read the full article here

This Post was written by Jason Ball, a “Fixer” and people Connector, in Tokyo