BreakThrough Study Idea

Breaking your company's boundaries and confidently taking center stage in pursuit of "creative productivity"Dr. Satoshi Nagashima

<Series 4 (Total 4 series)>


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Satoshi Nagashima (Managing Partner Japan, Roland Berger Ltd. *The present post : Global Innovation Officer)

This is the last article in a series of discussions on the theme of improving the productivity of SMEs with Satoshi Nagashima, Managing Partner at the global consulting firm Roland Berger Ltd.(*The present post : Global Innovation Officer) Nagashima encourages SME manufacturers to achieve growth through "creative productivity." We asked Nagashima about the important points of achieving growth and his advice for SMEs.

Basing consideration on customers and using all of "what is available"

Although productivity can be increased by reducing the "injected resources" (e.g., increasing efficiency or reducing cost), the concept of creative productivity seeks to increase productivity by heightening the "value of products and services." Nagashima introduced two keywords as the secret to reliably and quickly heighten the "value of products and services."

"The first is to consider enhanced value from the 'customer perspective.' Imagine what kind of value would be required in order to create relationships with customers which are three times longer and three times deeper. If you provide your customers with great happiness and fulfill their higher needs, they will accept higher prices."

As we have seen in previous articles, corporate collaboration is also an effective method if it is difficult to overcome that hurdle alone.

"The second is to 'use all that is available.' Even the iPhone initially began from 'what was available;' namely, the main structural elements were touch sensors on an LCD screen. This is much faster than creating new value from scratch."

Seven behaviors for heightening "creative productivity"

Nagashima also discussed "seven challenges that companies should embrace today" in order to increase "creative productivity." The first is to prefer heterogeneity and differences. The second is to have special skills that are easy to use. The third is to enliven the opportunities for dialogue.

"Engaging in dialogue with people in different fields will broaden perspectives and ideas, thus making it easier to take advantage of the fields being pursued. Therefore, companies must actively create more and more opportunities to interact with outside parties. Then, your company must actively promote 'what is available' in an easy-to-understand manner in order to stimulate discussions. If you have special skills that can interest other parties in different fields, it will be easier to engage in concrete dialogue."

The fourth is to "use all of your special skills." This is according to the "use all that is available" concept that is discussed earlier. Fifth, engage in frequent dialogue with customers. "If you continue engaging in communication, you'll hear from someone when you really need a partner," says Nagashima. Sixth is temporarily forgetting the old way of doing things, and seventh is to trust your intuition.

"With the goal of continually recieving orders, there are many companies which have desperately pursued quality, cost, and timely delivery for decades. However, in order to increase "creative productivity," it is important temporarily put aside such ideas. Believe that doing what you enjoy is correct, and try to take on as many challenges as possible without over-extending yourself."

Continuing to convey the "strengths" which exist at any corporation

"There are many SMEs in Japan with unique technologies, says Nagashima. "Many of these companies have created new value and grown significantly while using such technologies." However, he says that many SME business owners do not realize their potential because they believe that other successful companies are special exceptions.

"The majority of companies have their own unique strengths. If you are eager to take center stage and continue to convey your strengths, you will eventually come together with people who wish to cooperate. I strongly encourage SMEs to be confident, break away from convention, and create new value. Your company will surely become 'special' as well."

Series Breaking your company's boundaries and confidently taking center stage in pursuit of "creative productivity"

Series 1 Seeking to increase added value at SMEs through "creative productivity"
Series 2 The "creative productivity" of corporations is enhanced by understanding your own company and meeting with people
Series 3 Creating value by reviewing and combining your own company's "strengths"
Series 4 Breaking your company's boundaries and confidently taking center stage in pursuit of "creative productivity"

Satoshi Nagashima
(Managing Partner Japan, Roland Berger Ltd. *The present post : Global Innovation Officer)

Completed the Doctoral Program at the Waseda University Faculty of Science and Engineering. PhD (Engineering). After working as an assistant at the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Waseda University, Nagashima joined Roland Berger Ltd., a global strategic consulting company based in Germany. He is involved in projects such as grand strategy for manufacturing, business roadmaps, change management, and on-site digital arming. Nagashima has also served as a member of the "Strategic Commission for the New Era of Automobiles", operated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. He has also held positions such as a member of the Small and Medium Enterprise Policy Making Council, operated by the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency.

◇ Main Written Works
"AI On-Site Capability: Becoming Overwhelmingly Strong Through Japanese Innovation" (Nikkei Publishing Inc.) Published in 2017
"Japanese Industry 4.0" (Nikkei Publishing Inc.) Published in 2015

Coverage date January 30, 2020

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