BreakThrough Study Idea

The "creative productivity" of corporations is enhanced by understanding your own company and meeting with peopleDr. Satoshi Nagashima

<Series 2(Total 4 series)>

2020.04.09

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


In the formula for "productivity", the numerator is "new value created" and the denominator is "injected resources." According to Satoshi Nagashima, Managing Partner at the global consulting firm Roland Berger Ltd.(*The present post : Global Innovation Officer), the key to breakthroughs at SMEs is to increase "creative productivity" by raising the numerator. The second article in this series introduces the steps that SME manufacturers should take to increase their productivity.


By using methods such as IoT to increase efficiency, create time for increasing "creative productivity"

Increasing "creative productivity" and heightening the value of the products and services provided by your company will increase the profitability of your company. However, as mentioned in the previous article, there are many SMEs that do not have the time or resources to start taking action.

"In such cases, it is necessary to take an approach which is the reverse of increasing 'creative productivity'. However, I believe that it is acceptable to start by increasing efficiency through reducing the 'injected resources' which are the denominator in the formula. For example, by gradually implementing IoT at factories, reduce the number of man-hours required for work and save time. Then, the starting line is to apply that time towards efforts for increasing 'creative productivity'."

Nagashima raised two concepts to try at that time: "taking an inventory of your company's strengths" and "going to meet people and organizations that differ from your company."

Understand the strengths of your own company and become able to convey those strengths

"The first step in understanding your strengths is to take an inventory of what you have already produced. In as much detail as possible, determine where your products are used and what roles they fulfill. Here, it is important to consider 'what you have been able to contribute to customers'."

The "new value created" which is the numerator of the "productivity" formula can also be defined as "the extent to which your company is recognized by customers." Of course, achievements such as realizing industry-leading high precision are weapons that create value. Nevertheless, such achievements by themselves do not have much of an impression on customers. Nagashima emphasizes a common point among almost all corporations which succeed in increasing creative productivity—they skillfully use their own technology to create value which impresses people. For example, happiness from proposals which perfectly match needs and thrill from products which are finished beautifully.

"After taking an inventory to understand your company's strengths, create an easy-to-understand summary which can be conveyed to others. Then, use this summary when going to meet with other people and organizations."

Creating new value by multiplying the unique strengths of SMEs

Meeting with people and organizations that differ from your company results in two benefits for increasing "creative productivity". The first benefit is expanding your horizons by encountering new stimuli. The second is the ability to quickly create new value by linking meetings to corporate collaboration.

"Many Japanese SMEs possess unique value that is supported by deep commitment. Whether in sheet metal, casting, or injection, each company is committed to a different field and possesses a variety of elements. The uniqueness and depth of commitment at Japanese corporations is higher than those of any other companies in the world. Through skillful collaboration, you can create even higher value at a faster pace compared to when your own company works to create new value alone."

Nagashima continues by stating that the Japanese "spirit of cooperation" also plays a role in collaboration.

"For example, when talking about overseas collaboration, distribution of profit is given priority. Of course, profits are important. However, Japanese people share the same strong spirit of 'achieving a common goal'. This is a major driving force in smooth collaboration."


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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