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Aug 10, 2015

I organize several conferences a year as part of managing a business school. Some last a day and are held at our main Tokyo campus; some run for three days and are held in more exotic places up and down the country. A few focus exclusively on business, but most cover a broad range of topics—international relations, regional security, politics, economics, culture, even sport.

The key to success is to organize stimulating discussion sessions that excite and engage the audience. I have compiled a few simple rules for how to do this.

read more...“How to create WOW Moments:Top tips for lively sessions”

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Jul 23, 2015

As part of running a business school and venture capital firm, I have to organize a wide range of meetings and events. These range from relatively intimate investor meetings to multi-day conferences with hundreds of attendees.

Big or small, the most important thing about any event is always the same: it must surprise and delight. If you don’t create genuine WOW moments, attendees won’t feel engaged - let alone bother coming back next year.

read more...“How to create WOW Moments: My Top 6 Techniques”

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May 21, 2015

Japan, Asia & the World Meetings CAN Be Fun: Here’s How

I started my career working in one of Japan’s “Big Five” trading companies. I enjoyed the job—except for one thing: the meetings.

Various unwritten rules governed how meetings were conducted. It was understood that the only people with the right to speak were elderly males high up in the hierarchy. The rest of us—like children in Victorian times—were only meant to “speak when we were spoken to.” Speaking up spontaneously was frowned on and came with risk.

read more...“Meetings CAN Be Fun: Here’s How”

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Apr 28, 2015

Japan, Asia & the World Be unique…and you will succeed

Uniqueness - being genuinely different to the competition - is the greatest strength that any company can have.

Harvard professor Michael Porter famously compared old-fashioned Japanese companies to lemmings - all running in the same direction until they plunge off a cliff into the sea!

Porter was right. Just think of the once-great Japanese electronics firms: Because they all focused on producing the same things as their competitors, rather than on producing one or two things that were different, they completely lost their global dominance.

read more...“Be unique…and you will succeed”

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Apr 07, 2015

My one-night/four-day business trip to Australia started with one e-mail.

It was sent by a member of the Global Impact team of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), the world’s largest organization of chief executives and business leaders.

read more...“A one-night/four-day (two nights in flight) Business Trip to Australia: A Visit to My Second Home”

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Mar 26, 2015

Every year I am lucky enough to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It’s one of the best places for getting real-time insights into the big issues that are shaping the world.

This year, I detected three big new emerging trends. They covered the technology sector, the changing nature of threats to global order, and the general disappearance of trust in institutions.

read more...“Avengers Assemble! - 3 Takeaways from Davos”

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Mar 11, 2015

Japan, Asia & the World Feng-shui Office: Set Your Energy Free!

In many parts of Asia, it is unusual to construct an important new office building without first thinking about its feng-shui.

If the feng-shui is right—meaning that the building is located and oriented properly—it will bring good luck and cause the business to prosper.

read more...“Feng-shui Office: Set Your Energy Free!”

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Mar 02, 2015

The Swiss Railway, clad in red, pulled into the wintry train station. I boarded the train and took in the view of the landscape from the train window. I was endlessly entertained by the passing scenery of Switzerland. As I looked at the panorama, I was filled with a sense of accomplishment that I had completed everything I set out to do at this year’s WEF Davos Meeting.

read more...“World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2015 6)Three key points: the power shift to Internet companies and the start of technology bashing, etc.”

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Feb 24, 2015

This year I promised myself I would not get drunk at the conference, but I ended up drinking too much again. Japan Night and GLOBIS Night were both resounding successes. I ended up drinking until 2 in the morning and woke up with a hangover. Despite this, I woke up a little after 6am as I had an important board meeting from 7:30am. After checking my emails I took the shuttle bus to the Davos conference hall.

read more...“World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2015 5)The advent of a Japanese chairman; and he takes the podium!”

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Feb 23, 2015

Most businesses get off to a rocky start.

I know mine did.

I founded my firm - a business school to which I later added a venture-capital business - in 1992. Our startup capital was just $8,000. For the first few years we operated on a shoestring budget, even renting the classrooms we needed on an hourly basis to keep costs down! The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis was a near-death experience. It was only around 1999, after eight long years, that the business settled down and started generating steady profits.

read more...“3 Enemies Within: They Will Destroy Your Business!”

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