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This morning, I had a pleasure to address MIT Sloan Fellows during their International Trip to South Korea and Japan.  As I spent a few years in Boston/Cambridge area, I felt  privileged to be given the opportunity.

The group was spending a week in Tokyo after a week in South Korea.  I was pleased that KMD was selected as the place to visit, in addition to the companies.  The topic I was scheduled to cover was “Global Leader.”

I began my talk by saying that the hot topic for  top management of many large Japanese companies has been global leader and diversity.  I went on to discuss reasons behind it–innovation for survival and the reality of global competition. Then I discussed the gender issue in Japan.

I joked (not really) that South Korea and Japan are competing fiercely in this area, in addition to the electronics!  (This one is more  of competing for the bottom place!)

I shared some of the data I had gathered  on the issue of gender, potential impact, initiatives underway in Japan and issues we face.  I introduced the SPACE project at KMD, as one of the attempts to connect the divided world.

After Dean Inakage’s talk on Story telling, we started Q & A.  I always love the questions from this kind of international group.  Some questions included the possible impact of  quota system, how business school types! can become creative etc. etc.   After the session, I met with many people who had more questions.  In particular, the questions from the Japanese participants seemed to reflect not-so-easy  nature of the diversity issue and their desire to make something happen.

It so happened that I was invited to dinner at the Embassy of Norway at the occasion of the visit by the Deputy Minister of Education & Science where the main topic was gender.  Two consecutive days to think about the issue, and some new ideas and perspectives.   Food for thought continues…

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