Blog post

 Yesterday was another 15-hour operation day in Tokyo. The common theme was Competitiveness and the position of Japan.

  It began with the breakfast meeting where we discussed the upcoming World Economic Forum events in Asia. The discussion was quite lively, stimulating and quite productive. As majority of the participants were in 30s, there were quite a few creative ideas to make the presence of Japan in the Forum events bigger.

  I then had a meeting over lunch about the process of Executive Opinion Survey for 2008-2009 Global Competitiveness Report, again for the World Economic Forum.  ICS has been a Partner Institute for the GCR and I have been in charge over the past few years.

  Every year, we have struggled to develop the most updated list of companies and ensure enough response rates. Starting this year, we are doing the new sampling process throughout the world and I believe the survey portion of the Report will be improved.

  I have received help from the Keizai Doyukai to administer quesionnaires. I also asked for the professional help in this type of information and research, as it is better to have professional help.

   Over lunch, our talk extended to the ideal way of doing a research in the era when search engine such as Google is widely available. We discussed the importance of having hypothesis, collecting information with cost and value in mind, and of revising the hypothesis when the data proves otherwise. The key lesson for me was the need for us to always challenge the way it has been done, and to attempt to explore the better way with the most advanced technology available. I think we should always make ourselves to start anew when we plan the project, no matter how many times we have done in the past.

   In the afternoon, I had a very interesting meeting where my friend and I tried to define the problem in the project we are now embarking on. It is related to technology and the way the industry is evolving. The meeting, though it was about an hour, was intellectually stimulating and above all, so much fun. I felt so excited and enthused.

  Later in the day, I was given an opportunity to talk about Innovation and Competitiveness with a group of senior executives. As I had been thinking and discussing competitiveness throughout the day, I had quite a few things to say. 

 During the question and answer period, there were some questions which provoked some thinking on my part. Naturally at the meeting, I was trying to respond, and for some issues, we shared little. I was quite animated by the discussion as questions were quite different from what I had dealt with in other meetings during the day. 

  The day ended with the dinner which I hosted for one of our staff who is leaving. I love organizing get-together and/or dinner for people who make a “move”.  I personally think it is always great that people try something new and it is my privilege (sometimes it is simply an excuse to have dinner with good friends!) to hold some functions to celebrate.    My original plan for the day was to go to the Opening reception of the new department at Keio University after dinner. By the time, we were finished with dinner, it was too late. It was my regret for the day that I did not make the reception to commemorate something new and exciting.    15-hour day was tiring, but was full of energy, ideas, and food for thought. (It was full of real good food as well!)  

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