Growth of Innovation in Japan compared to Overseas Companies

Growth of Innovation in Japan compared to Overseas Companies
2017年12月12日 mfb

December 12, 2017
S・M・S Datatech Inc.
Business Development Office Public Relations

Japanese industry views the academic community as a major source of both new inventions and innovations; very much more so than does industry in Europe and the U.S.A. But, the likelihood of a good idea being implemented in Japan was dramatically less than in Europe and North America.
In Japan, ideas come less frequently from one’s own industry than in the case of Europe.

View on Innovation in a corporate setting

The proportion of senior executives’ time spent on the management of innovation was greater than (33%) in either North America (24%) or Europe (26%) and it is increasing at a greater rate in Japan.
Japan has excelled at producing tech products for use in its own markets, it would benefit by getting other firms and parts of the world to adopt its products and services.



Effect of Silicon Valley networking and culture

Japanese corporations are evolving and adopting a “startup culture” to boost their business creativity and country’s economic prospects. A huge focus and increasing growth in technologies like IOT, Artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Automation are observed in Japan’s startup culture.

The influence of California’s Silicon Valley is a major factor. Silicon Valley’s startup ecosystem has provided the intellectual and economic driving force behind a focus on high-growth startup firms and the institutions that support an environment to foster such an ecosystem.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Stanford University, full story available here.

For instance, last year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke at Stanford about how his country is learning the lessons of Silicon Valley and trying to build networks into the region. He said, “Japan must transform its economy in a way that mirrors the innovation ethos in places like Silicon Valley and Stanford University”As a result, Japan is likely to see an increase in the quality and quantity of high-growth startups.

When compared to Silicon Valley, the ecosystem is still small in scale but a stronger ecosystem of startup-related players combined with more open large firms will spin off entrepreneurs who leave to launch other new companies, which will accelerate the startup cycle in Japan.

Does Japan lag behind many countries in software development?

There are not a lot of good innovative software coming out of Japan, and there are a lot of reasons for that. It’s only been 10 or 15 years that they’ve had independent software companies emerge. So, Japan is getting better at it, but the software industry in the country is years behind Europe, North America, or China which is a real problem at the current stage.

For example, in robotics and the Internet of Things, there’s this hardware area where Japan has traditionally been very strong for many years. But there’s been a shift so that the importance is not much on hardware alone but software as well. And so you see companies like Boston Dynamics in robotics that have just leapfrogged a couple of generations ahead of where the Japanese firms are because there’s been so much focus on AI integrating with robotics.

So, I think, that is something that Japan is struggling with right now. There is a lot of effort being put into it, but there’s a lot of catching up to do as well.


The rest of the world is facing the same demographic trends as Japan. They have a great opportunity to figure out what works in the market, develop real solutions, test and deploy them to the rest of the world.

With this economic opportunity, the kind that startups promise, it also comes to the risk of failure and Japanese system seems very risk averse but the attitude toward failure is changing slightly in Japan. Overall, there’s a need for more entrepreneurial role models who’ll facilitate for a very optimistic future of Japan.


Japanese Management Culture and Corporate Innovation
Shinzo Abe at Stanford: Innovation will spur Japan’s future|Stanford news
Japanese prime minister touts innovation links to Stanford, Silicon Valley
Japan transforming its innovation culture by changing social norms, Stanford scholar finds|Stanford news
Japan’s Emerging Culture Of Innovation: The Invisible Things Can Be The Hardest To Change|Fobes
IT trends in Japan for 2017