Innovation in Japan


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Innovation: We need to think “Japanese”


Somebody once told me that North America is not innovative and there is no political will to innovate because we really don’t have to. We have a huge land mass and lots of natural resources, everything we need. Canada is the second largest country in the world by land mass, followed by the USA. 


In contrast, right now we are on the small island(s) of Japan, giving us the fantastic opportunity to experience this amazing country firsthand. In reflection, we can now see why this statement might be true. Japan has 128 million people living in 364,000 km sq. In British Columbia, home of The Strategic Play Group, we have a population of just 4.6 million people, living in 944,000 km sq. 


We have 2.5 times the space and only 1/24 of the population


The funny thing is, Japan really doesn’t feel that crowded. Everything seems perfectly organized. Just as you look for something, it’s right there. They have literally thought of everything. While in restaurants, our tables have call buttons for instant real-time service. There are vending machines everywhere with more drink choices than you could ever imagine. The selection in department stores is mind blowing. We bought Kit Kat bars in flavours like Green Tea, Wasabi, and Saki. Despite this, we didn’t see any trash other than that which was organized in neat and tidy bins. 


Until this trip we were under the impression there was only one bullet train, but in reality one of these high speed trains is running every few minutes in your direction. Getting around Japan is super easy and convenient. And the trains arrive right on time! If people are not on the train they are riding the bikes with multiple seats for children. And for parking, which is a big issue in Vancouver, they stack cars in these neat car towers that rotate. The people are extremely polite, patient, neat, and friendly. While we were waiting in a traffic jam yesterday we did not hear one car horn. 


The average home in Japan is only 750 sq. feet. Some people don’t even have bedrooms, they sleep on mattresses that they fold and put back into the closet when not in use. Our tour guide told us that he has never in his life mowed the lawn. In Japan, if you do have a lawn to mow you are likely very rich. 


If you are wondering why we are in Japan, lucky us, we are using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® to explore the brand promise of a large luxury brand and to better understand consumer wants, needs, and values. We frequently have workshop participants who ask for more bricks, but not in Japan! 


If you would like the Strategic Play team to design a workshop just for you, we would love the opportunity.  Call us today for your free quote. In the meantime, what can you do now to think more “Japanese?”

Posted in Innovation by Jacqueline Lloyd Smith on 4/2/2016 12:22:10 AM
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