User Debug, Lithium Ion Battery, Canned Bread… 21 Businesses Find Success with Heart and Soul
New IT Companies Practice "Hitozukuri"
Globalization of corporate activity is rapidly advancing in Japan, pressed by the rise of the newly emergent nations. It may be meaningful to think anew about the value contained in doing things "the Japanese way," when we need to build another advantage or strength in order to survive some difficult com petition.
We can find some examples in the background of some young IT companies where "the Japanese way" is alive and well in their management principles. DIGITAL Hearts located in Shinjuku City, Tokyo, performs operation verification and debugging for home game software, cell phone applications and other gaming systems.
DIGITAL Hearts has established a unique User Debug method that checks for defects including those that might occur during operations or in situations that are not anticipated by the developer but that the user might encounter, or minor defects that are still "nuisances" from the user point of view. Since its founding in October 2003, in the four years and three months up to February 2008, it achieved a public listing on the Tokyo Mothers exchange.
Eiichi Miyazawa, president of By Koki Kagaya JAPAN CLOSE-UP | May 2011 15 DIGITAL Hearts is remembered for saying "There are no slackers among freeters (a Japanese expression for people who lack full time employment), they just don't have a place to go,” quoted in the Diamond Weekly magazine of March 7, 2008. He has indeed hired a large number of former freeters over time, educating them into "socially productive technicians."
It's probably no exaggeration to say that DIGITAL Hearts' remarkable growth is due precisely to this attention to "hitozukuri," literally "people-making," or a mindful approach to human resource development. With this difficult economic environment, and capacity among Japanese businesses for investment in education and nurturing of human resources gradually slipping away, we might do well to consider anew the weight of the adage, "business is people."
Another company, en-japan, which is the leading online job agency in Shinjuku City, Tokyo, so deeply values its company philosophy "Ningen Seicho (Personal Development)" that it has copyrighted the phrase.
en-japan's mission is "Connecting people, then connecting people and business." Most job recruitment companies would describe the process as "matching up businesses with workers." Also, for "connection," en-japan uses the character "en," which can mean "ties" and "bond" as well, and is a very Japanese way to express the idea.
The placement of the terms "social justice" and "uniqueness" in the beginning of the company policy statement is very thoughtprovoking. If en-japan were thinking only of their business growth and profits, then "hurray for changing careers!" would underlie any statement of business intent. But I can certainly identify with their challenging the order of the day with their near to obsessive upholding of the slogan "Changing Jobs Mindfully."
On the flip side, last year the common occurrence of mobile phone gaming sites billing huge fees to users was a major problem. Though billed on commercials as "no fee," items or objects needed to play the game were not free, and fees would accumulate quickly as the game was played.
In a sense, for the purpose of optimizing profits, this would be an acceptable way to do business, but shouldn't the games have been designed so there would be less miscommunication, with the fee structure easier to understand and fully explained to the user? Further, "duty first, profit after," namely honoring those who put duty to the customer ahead of profit should be somewhere in the canon of Japanese style business ethics.
On the other hand, environmental technology, where Japan is at the top level in the world, is a boon of the experience Japan has had in conquering, under its own power, various environmental issues that became critical during the period of high economic growth. Environmental technology is a valuable asset in which Japan remains highly competitive internationally.
Founded in 1869 as a mining operator DOWA HOLDINGS in Chiyoda City, Tokyo, in addition to its original refinery operations has, become known for its environmental businesses in waste processing, soil remediation and metal recycling.
The roots of Dowa's technologies are in its techniques for handling the black ore that is found throughout the mineral deposits mainly on the Japan Sea coast. In the black ore is contained many useful metals such as silver and gold, but processing it is difficult and not much progress towards efficient use of the material had been made. Dowa continued its low profile research and development efforts, accumulating various techniques for recovering the many types of metals that are contained in black ore.
As a result of these efforts, Dowa now leads in the recovery...