Archive for the ‘U.S.-Japan Innovators Network’ Category

The last three weeks of August went by very quickly.  Anime scripwriter Dai Sato was in town along with Ryan Morris, his interpreter, for a couple of weeks to teach Anime Production/Scriptwriting to 25 high school students. Here are some summary videos of the classes he taught during those two weeks. Learn about 起承転結 (Ki-Sho-Ten-Ketsu) and 鳥獣戯画 (Cho-Ju-Gi-ga), Japan’s oldest manga. It is fascinating!

Also here is a link to Dai Sato speaking about how to create anime characters.

On the last day of the two weeks, the students divided into 5 groups presented their work at the auditorium. Here is a link to the 15 second previews that each group created. The preview was presented along with their story proposals. Dai told me later that he was intrigued that how all the groups had the notion of  fate/destiny embedded in their theme. He also thought that all story proposals dealt with the issues of coping with diversity and different values. He felt that groups made up of Japanese high school students would have come up with totally different theme and story ideas. Dai also had a chance to meet up with his old acquaintance, Justin Leach, also an IN member, who currently works at the Blue Sky Studios as a Senior Pipeline Engineer.  We paid a visit to Blue Sky in Connecticut and Dai was invited to speak about his work and the creative process to the storyboard department staff. Then we all took a tour of the studio.  Dai kept on saying how amazingly better the work environment is for creators like him in the U.S.  It was indeed a beautiful office space with huge windows overlooking a forest outside. There were ping pong tables and pinball machines, too.

Justin Leach and Dai Sato

Justin Leach and Dai Sato

During the last week of August, the Kyomachiya preservation group was in town after attending a symposium in Boston on historic preservation. The occasion was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of sister city between Boston and Kyoto. It was great to see Fusae Kojima again, a machiya owner and the President and Executive Director of Kyomachiya Revitalization Study Group. She was one of the panelists at the symposium we organized in collaboration with Kyoto Center for Community Collaboration (Machisen) last November at Japan Society. The symposium summary is featured in a new book titled Machiya Revival in Kyoto edited by Machisen. It just came out in July.  As part of the Innovators Network activities, we continue to support the Kyomachiya preservation group’s effort to gain further recognition abroad.

Last but not least, we have some newly edited videos of the Social Design Forum we organized with JIDPO (Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization) back in February.  I highly recommend that you watch Valerie Casey’s video on Design Thinking especially if you are a design student.

Masaaki Ikeda’s video, which touches on the history of  social design in Japan, is also quite interesting if you heard about Michael Linton, who had designed the LETS (Local Exchange Trading System).



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The Five LawsInnovators Network member Hiroshi Tasaka’s poetic The Five Laws to Foresee the Future: 12 Paradigm Shifts that will Happen in the Future of Human Society  (未来を予見する「5つの法則」) is out in English.  Tasaka-san’s philosophical insights into the future of work, life and society make for rivetting reading. For those who may have missed it, Tasaka-san gave a talk at a joint Japan Society- New School forum, “Beyond Web 2.0: How Technology will Change the World.” 



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Betty returned from Tokyo. She told me that the symposium on April 18 had more than 200 people in the audience, who were very engaging and active in the Q & A session. She also visited Miyakejima along with 3 participants from New Orleans. We will be updating our blog with stories from the exchange.

There is a blog entry (in Japanese) by Eri Goto, a reporter for Asahi Newspaper, one of the leading newspapers in Japan. She wrote about the site visits, which were conducted prior to the symposium. Participants visited several places including Sumida ward, a below sea level area in Tokyo and Sanya area, which is a community of day-laborers.

(In Japanese)



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雑誌ファースト・カンパニーの共同創立者アラン・ウェバーの新著が本日発売されました。英語のタイトルは Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business without Losing YourselfRules of Thumbの直訳は親指の法則ですが、通常、経験則と訳されます。オンラインで検索するとgoo辞書には語源に関して、下記の解説が出ていました。

Rule of Thumb: 経験則{けいけんそく}、経験{けいけん}に基づいて得られた法則{ほうそく}◆ 【語源説-1】大人の親指(thumb)の関節間の長さが約1インチであるため、大まかに長さを測るときに用いられた。◆【語源説-2】昔、ビールの醸造業者がビールの温度を測る際に、親指をチョットつけてみた。この方法は衛生的でなく、温度計ほど正確でもない。しかし、醸造業者の長い経験に基づいたものであるから、それなりに正確である。




A:この本を書くことになったのは、ほとんど偶然の産物で少しだけ先見の明があったと言えるかもしれません。一年ほど前に大企業のCEOと重役50人を前にスピーチをしたときに、プログラムの最後にCEOが出席者全員に「今の米国で道徳的権限を持っている人は誰か?」と問いかけました。そこで皆シーンと静まり返ってしまったのです。きっとみんな頭の中でデータ検索をしてビジネスの世界、政府、宗教で一体だれが当てはまるか考えたと思うのですが、だれの名前もでてこなかったのです。そのときに私は、明晰なものの考え方や、究極的には仕事と生きるための新しいルールを生み出すための源が必要だと思ったのです。そう思った途端に私は、過去30数年にわたり - オレゴン州ポートランドで働いていた時代、ハーバード・ビジネス・レビューやファーストカンパニー誌時代、そして今わたしは自称「グローバルな探偵」として活動しているのですが - 貯めてきた記事、スピーチ原稿、エッセーが詰まっているファイルを見直しはじめました。そして私は今までに出会った卓越した人々と一緒に働き学んだことをまとめあげ、この本にしたのです。「経験則」がこの本のバックボーンとなっています。この時代が来るのをなんとなく予測していてこの本が生まれたという言い方もありますし、このような時代だからこそこの本が生まれたともいえます。



Q: 経験則41では、「もしも本当のリーダーになりたいのであれば、本気でリーダーになることに取り組め!」とありますが、今日のリーダーに一番欠けている重要な素質は何ですか?




アランの英文でのインタビューはまだ続きます。続きは、折をみて日本語に訳す予定です。アランの話はとっても面白いので明日の講演会が楽しみです! (Fumiko)

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I suspect she has a photographic memory. Her note taking is puzzling and fascinating but just doesn’t seem to be enough to explain how much and how well she remembers what has been said. She is lovely and gracious. We always feel fortunate when Mariko Nagai is available to work with us–as she did on the recent Design and Sustainability exchange.  (Betty)

Mariko Nagai - We can not be without you, Mariko!

Mariko Nagai - We can not be without you, Mariko!

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We met with Mr. Nao Suzuki, editor of greenz.jp. greenz.jp, a self-described media activism, sustainability think tank, visionary’s network , focuses on creative activism, green business, global affairs and sustainable community, both in Japan and worldwide.


greenz.jp staff

The setting was the Lounge greenz, a laid-back loft-like restaurant bar with plenty of exposed wood and potted plants (and, ironically, a cigarette vending machine tucked away in one corner).

Mr. Suzuki was joined by Ms. Hiromi Matsubara, greenz.jp’s global relation’s manager and creative director Yoshihiro Kanematsu.

Over a lunch of rice, red beans and fish, Max, Casey and Valerie immediately connected the folks from greenz.jp.



“So far it’s fantastic,” Max said, commenting on his experience in Tokyo so far. “This last meeting we just did (with greenz.jp) was incredibly inspiring. It was great to see a parallel movement with regard to what we’re working for in the United States.”

Later on the bus on our way to meet Mr. Satoshi Yasui, head of design planning at Muji, Casey summed up his experience thusly: “It’s been really enjoyable to go around and meet and experience all these different people that have something in come with us. I’m starting to understand how this movement is interconnected and growing and coming to life.”

Valerie stressed the importance of face-to-face meetings.

“No matter how global you conceive of your self, there’s nothing like having conversations on terra firma in a real space to make you understand the context of your actions,” she said. (Daniel Rosenblum)

Like-minded people from US and Japan

Like-minded people from US and Japan

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Katsuji speaking at the UN today.

Katsuji Imata, Deputy Secretary of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, was in town speaking at the UNDP today.

CIVICUS has created the Civil Society Index (CSI) project, a “participatory needs assessment and action planning tool” designed to strengthen civil society worldwide.

According to Katsuji, the top three challenges facing civil society today are:

1. Accountability and transparency

2. Infrastructure and organization

3. Maintaining engagement

The project’s goal is to create a learning network to improve the state of civil society around the globe, he said.

“There are a broad range of actors in civil society, not just NGOs,” Katsuji explained.

That group of actors can sometimes include “uncivil elements”.

CSI is designed to measure the following dimensions of civil society:

1. Civil Engagement – the extent to which individuals engage in social and policy related initiatives.

2. Level of Organization – the level of institutionalization that characterizes civil society.

3. Practice of Values – the extent to which civil society practices core values.

4. Perceived impact – the extend civil society impacts the social and policy arena.

5. External Environment – the four above elements analysed in the context of the socio-economic, political and cultural variables within which the civil society operates.

Katsuji, a member of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network, flies back to Tokyo on Wednesday, in time to join the Innovators Network reunion on February 6. (Daniel Rosenblum)

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