On Sunday, we had session #2 of Global Agenda Seminar 2013. I began the session with the introduction of my activities for two weeks since we had the session #1 on June 1. It was full of activities such as East Asia Forum in Myanmar, Japan meeting in Tokyo, both of which were organized by the World Economic Forum. In addition, the Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit 2013 was also held in Tokyo with many executives from all over the world.
I was given the opportunity to participate in all of them and I wanted to share my experiences with the GAS 2013 participants. (Many things are available in the form of web cast etc., but my impressions and lessons learned I wanted to share with them.)
After that, we got into the main objective of the session. The first two sessions of GAS 2013 are for the introduction of basic problem solving skills and writing. I tried to use the participants reports for the first session to explain logical thinking and writing. It was because I thought using their own reports would make the session more relevant to them, rather than my explaining the reference book.
One thing, however, was missing during the session #2. It was the opportunity for every participant to speak up. As I believe the opportunity to speak up, share one’s view/position with others and collaborate to think of various alternative solutions is the key to developing global leaders, I usually make sure that everybody gets the chance to speak at least once during the session. I even made it a rule and almost force them! This time, I completely forgot about it and ended up talking almost one-way.
I realized that I was the one that broke the rule after the session and wrote a note to them that evening. (In fact, I was quite exhausted as I talked almost three hours!) I felt so bad as I did not engage them in the discussion.
Judging from the responses to the questionnaire, however, it seemed that most of the participants found the session informative and interesting. Yes, quite a few of them mentioned that they could not participate!
So I learned a good lesson! I need to make every effort to engage them to keep it lively and fun. I will keep that in mind for the next session!
Boot camp 2013 Part 1(in June) is coming close to the end. We will have three more sessions by the end of this month. I asked second year students to lead the session this time, as they went through the similar series last year. I made no suggestions as to how to proceed and left to them.
After about the third session, we reviewed the sessions by identifying what was good and what needed to be improved. I asked both those who led the sessions and those who attended for their reactions and suggestions. It was one application of Critical Thinking as we are learning.
During the discussion, many good ideas came up and as the result, the sessions that followed became much more lively and engaging. I myself learned a lot from the process as well.
I like the idea of experiment-learning-experiment again. It is precisely what we are practicing. (In fact, I follow the same process when I reflect my own performance of presentations, etc. as my Japanese version of today’s blog discusses.)
Learning is fun and we can learn both from success and from failure. AND we can get better each time we try. Learning is one of the most exciting things we could do!
Today, June 16, is Father’s day. So I cooked dinner for my Dad. I have been quite busy these days, but wanted to make sure that I do something for my Dad on Father’s day.
Some events were scheduled today such as TEDxTodai (I believe), but I skipped everything except the session No. 2 of the Global Agenda Seminar 2013. It was rather fortunate that we did not have get-together scheduled after the GAS 2013 session!
I had decided on the menu beforehand and had prepared some food in advance, as I knew I needed to rush home after the GAS 2013 session.
I managed and my Dad and I had nice dinner of steak with appetizer. I wrote a nice card for Father’s day, too.
He was happy to come and ate everything I prepared! I was so happy that he finished everything. Lately, he lost appetite and had lost some weight, too. We talked for a while over dinner, and I showed him some photo from the charity dinner etc.
He asked me whether we did something for my mother for Mother’s Day, as he began wondering whether we did something for her. I assured him that I made a card for her, had dinner with her for every Mother’s Day. (Some years, it was a bit late, as I was out of the country on Mother’s day.) He was pleased that we celebrated every Mother’s Day when she was with us.
These days, he seems to wonder whether he did all he could for her before we lost her. It is the emotion people have when you lose your loved ones. We often wonder whether we could have done more. It was a good Father’s Day for both of us.
This evening, June 15, I went to the Premium 40 Mariko Takahashi concert in Yokosuka. This is the sixth time or so since I started going to her concert. (The first time was in Nagoya and I took Shinkansen just to go to the ccncert! ) This year 2013 marks the fortieth anniversary since she began her career, and thus Premium 40.
Her concert is always full with baby boomer couples. In fact, she and her husband, Henry Hirose, producer, are the same generation and they share the same era with the audience. The audience is always enthusiastic and it is almost like rock concert in the 60s or something. (In a way, we bring back nice memories of our youth!)
Her singing is fantastic and so are words of her songs. (I do love words of her songs as well as the songs.) She is always relaxed, natural and the Henry band (whose average age is mid 50’ｓ） is fun.
It seems that artists and the audience both get so much energy by being together, dancing and having fun, which is wonderful. Everybody seems to happy and re-energized by the concert. (It is likely that the artists who are professional and perform great during the show may be exhausted after the show!) It was a wonderful way to relax and re-charge!
Growth strategy (the third prong of Abenomics) has been announced yesterday to complete the total package of policies under the Abe administration for now. There has been a consensus that growth strategy will make or break the impact of the total policy package. Not necessarily as the result of the growth strategy, the yen got stronger and the stock market has shown the sharp drop. As many things are taking place throughout the world, the exchange rate and stock market has been quite volatile these days.
What I think we need to focus, however, is more of the long term prospect, rather than short-term fluctuations. We can watch the exchange rate and/or stock prices every minute and be happy or sad, but it does not seem to be too good a way to spend time, our limited resources.
So our next session, No. 5 of “Davos Experience in Tokyo” series will pick the topic of more fundamental transformation under the title of “Can Japan change?” It will be a good opportunity for those who are interested in discussing the issue on Japan in the world economy, and also in finding out how we ourselves can participate in forming the image/perception of the country.
At the Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit now underway in Tokyo, I talked about this initiative as a part of my talk. At the cocktail reception, some people asked me whether the event is just for students and for the Japanese. Davos experience in Tokyo series is for anybody that is interested in global issues, discussing them in English and getting to know others who share the same interest. Anybody, regardless of age, gender,nationality or background etc. are welcome to join.
The online vote is now open and you can choose Yes or No. As we will live stream the event on Friday, June 21, you can join us through virtual forum. If you can come to the venue in Tokyo, you can meet with others and join the networking event planned afterwards. For details, please follow this link and register and/or vote. We are looking forward to having you join us.
Today, I did two things for myself. These few weeks have been full of activities and deadlines that I needed some break. So, I went to visit the show by Mr. Hiroshi Okano at Yanagi gallery in Ginza. I met Mr. Okano at G1-KIBOW charity dinner on Monday where his two paintings were auctioned.
We talked briefly at dinner and he gave me the picture book and the information about his show. I liked his paintings and his talk. So I decided to visit his show before it ends on Saturday. It was wonderful and we talked for a while at the gallery. It gave me a nice break to enjoy art.
Then this evening, I went to Aikido class. I was tempted not to go, in order to get some rest (I have been getting up at 4:00 a.m. and with full schedule of seminars etc., I have found myself being physically as well as mentally exhausted. I could also think of some other excuses such as rain! But I did go and enjoyed thoroughly. It was a small class and we went over some basic techniques. It was a nice break for me as I had to concentrate on learning. Two things, even they were small, gave me a lot of energy.
Today, June 12, I had an honor to give an overview of the Japan (!) to the group of business executives at the Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit 2013. It is a major event with leaders of the consumer goods companies throughout the world.
I attended the special sessions held in the morning as I finished Boot Camp #4 at KMD. The sessions were interesting as the team of consulting companies and retailers/manufacturers covered major topics such as aging, localization etc.
The official opening began with the opening remarks by the Co-chair of the CGF and the key note speech by the Princess Takamado. Then after the break was my turn. My title was “Is Japan changing?” and I talked about the prospect of Abenomics, issues and opportunities as well as what to expect. (I quoted some from Prime Minister Abe’s speech yesterday at the Japan Meeting of the World Economic Forum.) After the talk, I responded to the questions frankly (probably a bit too provocative?) .
Presentations by Mr. Okada of Aeon and by Mr. Ozaki of Kao followed and the session ended with the key note speech by Prof. Yunus of Grameen bank. It was the first time I heard Prof. Yunus in person and it was very impressive.
I felt so honored to be invited to speak at this type of major event and felt very relieved after I finished my talk. (I thoroughly enjoyed wine and great food at the cocktail reception!)
Several people came to me to ask about Davos Experience in Tokyo as I referred to it in my presentation. I did not explain it as fully as I should have, but it is for anybody (young or old, regardless of nationality etc.) that is interested in discussing/debating global issues in English. The next event is on Friday June 21 and the registration is open. The networking event is scheduled after the main session. We also live stream the event so that those who cannot come to the venue can join our discussion online. I hope many will join us, either real or virtual. Here is the link for the details and registration.
Today, June 11, has been a day full of exciting activities. It began with the executive breakfast meeting of the Japan Meeting 2013 entitled “Shaping the New Japan through Global Partnerships” organized by the World Economic Forum. We discussed how the Forum could help and support the transformation of Japan now underway under Prime Minister Abe. It made me realize again the significant role of the World Economic Forum as rare international platform for multi-stakeholder collaboration.
Then the opening session began. After the welcome remarks by Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder & Executive Chairman of the Forum, the panel discussion was moderated by Ms. Hiroko Kuniya of NHK, with three distinguished guests connected online.
Then the prime minister Abe took the podium to explain his plans for the new Japan. It was a good opportunity for us to hear Prime Minister Abe explain his policies in his own words. I personally liked the speech, as it was well laid out and easy to follow.
The three sessions on Economy, Geopolitics and Society followed in parallel. I participated briefly in the Society session before I rushed to the airport to go to Fukuoka. The meeting went on. I thought it was a great timing to have Japan Meeting for all of us to reflect our past six months of new administration and to think about the issues we need to tackle now.
I particularly liked the issue map shown at the executive breakfast meeting as it describes issues we face in Japan, and at the same time enables us to compare our position with the rest of the world. I wish I could have stayed the whole day, but even attending some sessions were worthwhile. (More to come..)
I have finally? realized that my role models (of ladies for now, though I have many men whom I respect tremendously!) can be described as “cool ladies.” Cool rather than Super, as they are cool, down to earth but with passion inside their heart. The idea dawned on me as I have seen several ladies whom I want to emulate and others whom I do NOT want to be. Too aggressive style of pushing their own ideas and thoughts does not quite agree with me (not sure whether this is the right expression), no matter how competent the people are. On the other hand, I find myself very attracted by the ladies who express their views in simple and easy terms without getting too excited or being too aggressive. It does not make any difference however drastic and provocative their ideas might be.
Some examples I have come across are: Christine Lagarde of IMF and the Minister Mari Pangestu of Indonesia about whom I often write on my blog. Both of them have and express very clear views of theirs , articulate, often disagree with the views expressed by others. I find them very attractive as they do not cry out their views, and yet, their positions are made articulate. Probably their style of talking in rather low voice may help forming that impression.
Mme. Margaret Thatcher who passed away recently would be one of the pioneers of Cool Ladies (though she was called Iron Lady and she liked that) and one that is very hot and cool now would be Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar.
They seems to share the same tendency that they know their place. When Mme. C. Largarde was the Minister of Finance etc. under the President Sarkozy, she made it clear that she works for President Sarkozy. When the Minister Mari Pangestu introduced the young Indonesian to take over her position, she used the expression, “I am an appetizer and he-the young person who took over- is the main course.” Both of them seem to know their role and responsibility very well.
They also seem to have guts to take a crack at the difficult questions raised by the audience during the panel etc. when other panelists were quite at a loss as to how to respond.
As I have seen these people–both my positive and negative role models- in person at different occasions, I seem to have come to the clearer idea of what kind of person I would like to be and what style fits my personality. I think direct encounters with them (rather than hearing or reading about them) sometimes give a different impression from the ones formed by media. (I talked about the importance of direct encounter at WIF Skill Up seminar the other day.) We can learn a lot from direct encounter…
As I reflect the past 5 days I spent in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, I feel both great hope for the tremendous opportunities and the better future we could bring to the future generation, and at the same time, feel a bit overwhelmed by the enormous challenges we all face to make it happen.
The experience of being in Nay Pyi Taw was very good, though I was advised by many people that I should NOT form an impression of the country just by being there (i,e, not visiting Yangon). I realized how far the country (and the region ) still needs to go, as I learned first hand that electricity is not something that is available all the time, drinking tap water is a NO NO (in many countries, this is the case), etc. etc. Motor vehicles are not available whether they are big bus, taxi, etc. In other words, many things we take for granted in Tokyo are NOT available in many parts of the world.
Being in Myanmar and ASEAN countries brought back memories from my child days. I remember barely the days (I belong to the xx generation, so I remember) when my mother was washing clothes in cold water, (and left over warm water from the bath the night before) and we were so excited when we had the first washing machine!
As we discussed many time during the Forum, expectations are high for Myanmar and ASEAN countries, and at the same time, we all need to be very careful taking cautious steps, to make sure that the society and people can make the journey their own. I believe what we need is the belief in the better future and the trust we have in our ability and will to make it happen.
I liked the remarks made by Tony Fernandez of Air Asia that they believe in ASEASN before ASEAN believes in themselves. Vision is something that we aspire to realize. Without belief in our own ability and future, no dream comes true. Vision may not materialize in the way it is originally created. As long as we keep our hope & our aspiration high and continue to be persistent, I am sure we can make it happen for all of us.
What does this mean for us and me in Japan? Now that we have excellent infrastructure in place, history of good basic education and training, good technologies for energy & environment in particular, we can look at our own journey to get here and draw the picture of the country (region and the world) we want for ourselves.
We definitely need to change, as the world around us is changing very fast. For us to change, we need to let go of certain things we have had. That is, to me, the biggest challenge, we are faced today. It is much easier said than done, but just think, we cannot continue accumulating things to get something new. I know this first hand as I cleaned the house my parents (and me for some time) lived for over five decades and how much we accumulated! It took a few days to clean up!
Nobody likes to lose something. But we need to believe in ourselves that we will gain something new and good, if we let go of some of our past. Do we believe in ourselves to create the better future? It is up to us…