The Intersection of Design and Business
Thank you very much for everybody to participate in this session. I'm not sure how many times I did a panel discussion at G1, but I always found that this time allocation just after lunch is very difficult to keep people awake. But, you know, but I think today I'm very fortunate because we have four distinguished panelists.
I'm sure that they can keep you awake. Okay. So, you know, at G1, we do not introduce ourselves. But instead of doing that, I like to have a first question, which is to each panelist. My question is, what is your activities or life in the past and currently in relation with design? Maybe, Chris, you want to start this? Sure. Thank you. Thank you for having us. Let's see my where my activities.
I'll start with past activities. I feel like design has always been a part of of my life. I grew up in a kind of an artist and photography household, and I found my way into some fortune areas where I met Tom Kelly almost 30 years ago. I was five know then at a place called IDEO and was has been very fortunate in subsequent environments to be in a learning environment, which is I think is a core part of being a designer. I think of myself always as a
designer, even though I have an MBA and I've done other kind of different disciplines in my life. But a colleague of Tom and I, he always asks us the passport question, not which country, but what occupation you put on your passport. And since I've had a passport, I've always put designer on the passport. So I think that's that's something that is carried, carried forward. Today we start to think about design at the intersection of design and business. I think I started my career
thinking about design for business as a service to the business. We were design was was kind of down the stack and we've tried to elevate ourselves in in that. And I think as you start to change that preposition, so design for business, design of businesses and then designs of ventures and ecosystems, that's kind of how I've I've thought about integrating these, these different designs. But design has always been an
integrating discipline. And no matter what other fields or collaborations you're working with. So that brings me to where my, my relationship to this group and Japan is. I currently run an innovation center for with SRI, sponsored, with and partnered with Nomura, focusing on connecting Japan and Silicon Valley. And we do that through bringing
Japanese corporate and innovators and entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley and try to show them the path towards disruptive innovation. So that is my short and long story. Thank you for this, please. So, hi, my name is Ari Hari. I was actually born and raised in Hiroshima. I started in my life in the United States as an exchange student and about nine years ago I started a women's startup lab focusing on women tech entrepreneur to rise and succeed through collaboration. While I was doing that, I also realized that.
The entrepreneurs I have to help are women who already made it and there are thousands and thousands of women who just didn't make it to the accelerator level. So last two years I've been focusing on non-profit Women's Startup Lab Impact Foundation, and with that I can help larger number of women. And last year I have received the funding from the US government to help women and girls in Japan to learn about entrepreneurship and mindset. So I was very fortunate to spend a year in Japan to develop the program. And you know, we were talking about design and I consider myself not necessarily accelerator founder, but I always been more of a social engineer.
The question becomes what is not working in our society where it's not being designed in a way that is not fully functioning. And the women have been a big section of all our interest. And so accelerator has been just a way for me to design a way, the way women can contribute benefit for not just for women but for our society.
So specifically for last year, my activity has been helping women and also high school student, but it's been very interesting to really dig in on Japanese mindset that's different than the entrepreneur mindset that people already have in the United States. So again, digging deeper, the button that you have to push to create next chapters or courage to take on risk buttons, very different for Japanese women than, let's say, US cultured people. So it's been very interesting and that's what I kind of bring to the table.
Thank you, Horie-san I think she mentioned about the mindset mindset is, you know, always keywords particular for design. Because when we say design, it's a little bit different from who you are, right? Japanese and American and also designers or entrepreneurs. So we can come back to that mindset part again. Okay Tom? My closest American to me
is Tom Kelley, please. Thank you, Mak. Very sweet. So it's hard to, hard to follow that quick introduction, but so I love this idea of mindset. By the way, I write books about design and innovation, and I wrote a book that did really well, made the New York Times best seller list. And the book I wrote was called Creative Confidence. But in Japan, it's called Creative Mindset. So our publisher, Nikkei in Japan thought it really about a mindset, which I think I agree with.
So as far as design in my life, I mean, it's just permeated my life and my career. I've been at IDEO for 36 years. I've spent the last six of those years working with Mak at the D for V, our venture firm in Tokyo, investing in mostly Japanese startups. And in case you haven't already guessed, the D in D for V is for design. It's design for ventures. And so what we do is we invest in these Japanese startup companies. And then IDEO what I think of as one of the leading design firms in the world, you can you can be your own judge IDEO then for free helps provide design services to help some of those companies succeed. And so we've got the combination
of design and ventures. And so what one thing that IDEO has tried to do from the beginning is stretch the definition of design, because in the old days it was like fashion design or it was product design. And we've tried to stretch it to everywhere. So IDEO deeply believes that
climate change is a design challenge and we're hosting big groups. This is Climate Week and we're hosting big groups at IDEO from government and business to talk about climate. But I think the ultimate in this design challenge thing is designing your life. You know, it is the most popular course at the Stanford D School. There's a book and a workbook now for
this Designing Your Life course. And I use some of the elements of designing your life. And I drew this giant mind map of what I should do next in my life. And one of the words in that mind map was Japan. And that took me to Japan in and
meeting Mak Takano, who had visited me in Palo Alto. And that in turn led to the formation of D for V. So this designing your life, it's worth at least looking into. Thank you very much, Paddy. Please. So I started designing when I was a little girl and was handed a pad of paper.
And I was one of those kids that designed architecture. The houses I wanted to live in, and I actually went to school. I went to Berkeley to become an architect, but I never practiced. To this day, one of my favorite things to do is, is if I'm driving to the city, I give myself a problem to solve in the one hour commute or I'm on a plane. I always have a pad of paper and
there's a puzzle. There's a bunch of puzzles that I've set forth for me to solve in that cross country cross ocean trip. And that's when I get my nerd on, is solving a puzzle with a blank piece of paper. Um, so what I've been doing, I. I started one of my first companies when I was in Japan. I received venture fund funding from a Japanese company to start a business in America, and it just went public last summer.
I also have an eyeglass company because. In my other company. I bill by the hour and I felt I was costing my clients so much money because I couldn't read the fine print. It was I was getting old, but I didn't want to admit it.
So I went to CVS and I turned the carousel and I kept turning it. And I'm so vain. There was no way I was going to wear any of those grandmotherly glasses. So I design and manufacture eyeglasses as well. Good. Good. Okay. Then I want to ask the some
additional questions. Maybe I should start with the design thinking, because as you know, design thinking is now very popular words. But I believe that design thinking what also the idea came from IDEO originally, right? Then maybe Chris or Tom, please explain. How did you came up with the idea and evolved? I think, IDEO what one thing IDEO has shared is this kind of love and almost dogma around process. And so we go into a room or we
start a project with a blank piece of paper or a client, and we kind of want to say like, how are we going to do this before we start actually doing. And it and it started, I think, out of a desire to have a common as as IDEO was originally industrial designers and mechanical engineers trying to create great products. When we added the discipline which I joined with, which was the merger of design and psychology called Human factors, we tried to had to figure out how to all play well together, and we needed a process in a way to describe that. So that was originally we used the the words human centered design and user centered design and, and then and it grew, grew from there. And as I was saying to the panelists earlier, any good designers and innovators and entrepreneurs are good at borrowing and stealing from everybody else.
So IDEO certainly did a bit of that in trying to take the best of design process and definitely coined the phrase design thinking. And I think as I look back on it, it's a very empowering process. We gave it away. So it was one, one odd thing as a group of consultants to kind of give away your secret sauce. But we actually wanted more people to think like we did so that we could collaborate together. The dirty secret is then we I think we wanted to like, train our clients to be better clients for us.
But that's, another off the record story. But I think design thinking has been one of those things that we've tried actively to give away and I think is, is kind of a tool kit to help people with that mindset, whether you no matter what your background is, I think, you know, you may not have a design background or craft as an architect or an industrial designer, but you should be able to think like a designer, which helps you collaborate, solve problems and kind of stitch together, use cases to a value proposition, which I think is a key skill for entrepreneurs, investors and the like. Yeah. One thing that Chris-- Oh, here we go. One thing that Chris touched on there is about designers versus not designers. You know, I would say, you know, I have been writing about design thinking a lot, starting with a book 23 years ago called The Art of Innovation. And, you know, I've always thought that design thinking was too important to be left to the designers, right? And so the idea of design thinking is it's not this exclusive club. This is something that all business people can practice.
And our clients who want to bring more creative thought into their organization. If you as a boss say, Hey, go and be more creative or go make innovations, it's hard to know where to begin. But design thinking gives you tools and steps and things like that to break it down into its component parts. So like Chris says, we could have held it tight or tried to trademark it or something, but it's been much more fun this way to see it just go mainstream around the world. I will say it is not as embraced or it is not is not as far along in its application in Japan as it is in some other parts of the world like that. In a US context, I try not to explain
to my clients what design thinking is because they'll think I'm telling them stuff they already know, right? Sometimes called mansplaining. So you never want to be in the design splaining in the mode of doing that. Whereas in Japan it is still something that's happening. We are teaching some of our Japanese clients IDEO has a studio in Tokyo right on Omotesando Boulevard. Very nice office one Omotesando And we are in some cases teaching people of design thinking, but once they learn it, then they can do it on their own or they can do it with with our help at IDEO Tokyo. Tom I feel that, you know, it used to be design thinking. The world of thinking is very
popular right now. It's, you know, starting at the idea of we don't use much rather than design thinking, I feel we do more like a human centric right? Is that true why it happened? Yes. And I mean, we haven't really changed the process of design thinking at all. But the more it is used, you know,
it has gone through mainstream use it it loses its specialness as a term. We're not trying to promote the idea of design thinking. And so some people still believe that design thinking is kind of belongs to IDEO or something, whereas human centered design just seems, you know, more universally available. So it's it's mainly about semantics. We still deeply believe in this process. And, you know, when appropriate, we'll call it design thinking.
And when it doesn't feel right, we'll call it human centered design or something else. Okay, let's let's switch our topic to effectiveness of design in businesses. So how it can help for companies company to grow. Is there anybody want to talk about the effectiveness of design with some particular-- I think I mean, sharing a little bit of this past with Tom, I think that we tried to use design as a way to help companies strategically grow. And we're looking for indicators of of our success. We could tell a good story about it.
And but we were trying to sell them more design services. So but we often looked at public stocks that actually had design leadership in either their boards or in their management teams. And you can see this kind of era go from maybe 2005 to to 2015 or 2020 and showing how design led companies and design led leaders, leadership teams actually were more effective at identifying and being adaptable to to new markets and identifying new opportunities. So I think that that's that's an indicator. I mean, we can tell individual case stories, but I kind of like to step back and see what are the markets think about our impact. Sure.
I mean, we've done thousands of projects so we can point to companies where we, you know, increase their sales by millions. We can talk about startups where we help them get to $1 billion valuations, but it depends on what metric you want to use. So here's a metric that I like, which is, I used to take people on tours of IDEO, Palo Alto, and I'm taking on a tour one day and I point to this product was one of my favorite products at the time. It's called the Heart Stream Defibrillator.
It was the very first of the automatic external defibrillators. They have them. Oh, sorry. They have them in Omotesando Station. They have one of our defibrillators still there, the kind of descendant of the one we designed. So I'm telling this young group, a group of at risk kids from New Zealand and I'm telling the story about this product we did that we designed the interface for, that, you know, basically restarts your heart if you go into cardiac arrest. And the leader, this guy who I
got to know a little bit later, but I was meeting him for the first time named Simon. He kind of wanders away in a funny like, something's going on over there. But I couldn't I couldn't figure out what it was. And so at the end of the day, I said, Hey, Simon, what was up? What happened there? You know, I was explaining the defibrillator. He says, Tom. I have a 19 year old daughter.
And he said last year, out of the blue, no sign beforehand. She went into cardiac arrest. He says your your product saved my daughter's life. He said, I didn't want to cry in front of my boys. That's why I wandered off.
So think about the millions of sales that we increased. Think about the billions we've made in valuation for startups. I'll take the heart stream defibrillator, because that story, Simon told me, has been repeated tens of thousands of times around the world. And I hear his story, and I think we did that, I mean, with the help of many other people. But we saved his daughter's life. So use any metric you want.
I've found design to be very valuable out in the world. Thank you. So, Patty, I know that you've been funded. You have funded so many, not so many, but few companies, right. In, you know, managing your company.
you made a successful IPO. You said so. And how did you design your company? You know, as a manager, as a board member, how did you design? To success. That's a big question, but I will make a plug for Tom. We distribute design thinking to every employee, and Tom is on our teaching faculty. He comes in and teaches people
how to think, how to ideate, how to think outside of the box. I was at the earlier panel discussion and I heard Arthur talk about take the money. If they offer it, take the money. But design can help you in the event of an economic downturn as well. Money always helps. So one of my favorite stories is the event that erased the word startup from our life cycle stage. We faced our first downturn and a little bit of background about my this company that was funded when I was living in Japan. It is a health care consulting company and our clients are all hospitals and it's generally thought of this company is generally thought of as having a very high quality product, very good customer service and the highest prices. And when there's an economic
downturn, the first people. Oh, yeah? Yeah. Not the first people who are let go are the high priced consultants. So. I was summoned down to talk to the CFO of a large hospital in Los Angeles, and I was summoned down there so she could terminate our contract. And she did it as a kindness to
me because she wanted me to know that it wasn't personal. Her board of directors had ordered everybody to terminate all the contracts. Well, I'm a good consultant, so I came loaded with reasons why she shouldn't terminate her contract.
I reminded her that we had conducted training to every hospital, every department in our hospital, so they could be self sufficient in correcting their own mistakes, but that it made no impact. I wasn't having any making any impression, so I told her, Well, you'll remember we absorbed all the legal fees for that gigantic litigation process that has returned. a huge reward to you. Still no impact. Good thing I saved the best story for last. I said, do you remember the one focus area all year was on pricing and we did free of charge a pricing study for your hospital.
And the prices that you've implemented today are increasing your revenues. And I thought, okay, good. That's all she'll need. No impact. I was desperate, so I blurted out. But did you know that our consultants improve the clinical outcomes of all your patients? And she burst out laughing. She said she thought I was joking,
but I wasn't laughing. So she stopped laughing and she said, okay, I know you're a financial consultant. How is it that you impact the clinical outcomes of our clients? And so I thought, okay, I'm going to go with this. I told her that because our kids, our kids, they're 20s and 30s, they travel to her hospital four days a week, come back on Friday.
I said that they give birthday parties for every one of your patients every month at the Ronald McDonald House, which is housing for parents who must travel to for their child to receive treatment. She said Why didn't you tell me this? This was having an impact. So I kept going. I told her that on a quarterly basis, the team voluntarily gives blood to your hospital. She said, I need to know these kinds of things. I was making an impact.
So I said, okay, you know, your surgical kits, you use one piece of equipment and you throw away the rest. We recycle all of your surgical kits and we distribute those supplies to community hospitals and to hospitals around the world. So not only are you impacting your own patients, but you're helping patients around the world. And she said come to work on Monday. I'll deal with the board. So when you're designing things,
this is part of a design. So our employees are given the power to do team building every month. They have a budget for it, and there's three criteria. It has to be fun. It has to be impactful and it has to be strategic. And all those team building things that they did fit all those criteria and we were the only ones left in the market. All of our major competitors left the company or left that business, that industry. We had our pick of people on campus.
We had our pick of clients across the United States and we lost the term startup in our business cycle. Thank you. Thank you. Oh. It's very inspired. That's right. That's right. So, Horie-san, I heard that your program is really different because of in terms of design, it's (driven by) women.
How is it different? Yeah. So first the six month when I started Women's Startup Lab. First of all, I didn't start it because I thought I was an expert. I started because I felt there was something needed to happen. And because I saw so many women entrepreneurs leaving Silicon Valley and so, okay, I can listen, I can talk to people. So first six months, I spoken to
260 people in the Silicon Valley. Some are investors, some are people who are women leaders or some people who's working in the women's empowerment industry. And I keep asking why, why, why, just like everybody else does. And I also ask if there is one systematic program that can be built, what would that organization do? And so everybody has a different idea. Then that number of information gave me idea what people think, what people perceive and what's the fact.
And then some of the fact can be effective, some of the fact it's it's not so effective. So some success and some failure. So I wanted to help women entrepreneurs to rise, raise a fund or succeed, whatever the way. And I decided to do accelerator and I realized the investment only goes less than 3% to women entrepreneurs. And another study came out and they found out that investors themselves don't realize that they're asking very defensive or more safe question, How are you going to save money in a downturn versus toward the male entrepreneur? They will ask, how are you going to make it bigger? If you have a $10 million right now, what would you do? And so system have kept a certain way. I'm not saying the women are not
rising because everybody else is fault. And so not only everybody else's opinion and perception and then looking at the number and then social data, we start looking at, okay, what is the current accelerator model? And why women are leaving those accelerators? And I found out that statistically women do better when they are a small group. Men do better with the competition. And so in society, we just sometimes need it. Collaborative cooperation,
collaborative competition to help each other and thrive. So our program was designed to collaborate with each other. It's a small program. Also, we have a number of advisors, not they're coming in because they're great. Not many advisors talk about how great they are, but I specifically, like you, were talking about designing your mission and company. I made it very clear why I chose you and why you have to be here to help other women. And so they knew what I saw
in them. And so when they came, they talk about not what they're so great about what they have done, but they made it so that every single entrepreneur felt great about what they were doing. And so the conversation became very much about each entrepreneurs strength and how I can help you versus, okay, I'm a great speaker, I'm going to tell you and Goodbye, which then entrepreneur was inspired, but they did not connect how your success and my success is irrelevant. And so we were very micro on specifically not just the knowledge, but how those each activity leave them, how they felt about themselves. So one of other things is like advising. We didn't just have advisor session, we call it 360 advising session. We have about six advisors in the
room and we don't have advisors to give advice. Entrepreneur talk. We ask a lot of questions and entrepreneur actually have to leave the room. Because sometimes when they are speaking with entrepreneur, there is a little bit of a show off stuff happening between the advisor. So we have entrepreneur leave and we had collaborative obsession among other advisors to discuss what's the best situation that she can gain the fund or whatever the issue. Some advisor knew something some advisor didn't know and they start discussing which is better solution. And so they were start learning.
They were collaborating. Then the entrepreneur came back. By then the advisor very warmed up. They felt confident their advice and so even the advisor wasn't poking around challenging them. "Prove it to me" That wasn't the case. It was like we agreed. I think the next opportunity is this.
So we design everything in a collaborative mindset and emotional safety, and it felt like everybody was in it and being understood. And so those are just the one of the examples. So we look at the how, where women thrive and we design that in a program, and we also brought that to the extended member of our community, which is investor and advisor were briefed and then collaborated in that way. So that's just one of example. Thank you. Now I think what you are talking about is how different from, you know, that woman's society in terms of designing, design and mindset maybe. So then in terms of mindset, I think the designs differ, for example, like between a startup and a large corporation and between Japan and US. Why it can differ. I want to start that
conversation. First one is, you know, in the United States, when I say design thinking, everybody knows about that. But in Japan design, we start with explaining what design thinking is. So that means that in Japan that, you know, design thinking is not so appropriate even among startups. So I think the three of them have some kind of experience in Japan and can compare the scene a bit for Japan and US.
So if anybody want to say something, why does it differ? Maybe I just quickly start Last year I designed one women entrepreneur training program. I put up the application, whatever, you know, whoever think you are entrepreneur who has a revenue apply. I didn't use the word startup and I got applications. I looked through it. I don't understand what business they are in. It was very like we change the world and we bring the happiness. And I was so confused. And then I go to the website. Website was same way.
I didn't understand what service she provides. And so I just gave up looking at the application. This is the first time in Japan, right? So our brand is established, so everybody has certain interpretations and they come over and so I said, okay, I don't know anything about Japan, so I'm just going to meet those women. So I was expecting a number of women like actually 80, 80 women gathering at Omotesando and thinking many of them were like, Oh, Horie-san, can you help us? Kind of like flowery conversation sometimes I get that. And they were serious.
They were so serious. They had a number, they had a presentation. They said, This is what I have done. And then they were very clear how often they failed.
But what I have found out is that the society doesn't really welcome them to speak like that, so they learn to dumb it down. They have this revolutionary system that helps this beauty of some sort. Then she'll say, Well, it's something to do with the skin and I make people happy. That's how they talk. So it was cultural it was a cultural. So it was important that I have to keep that in mind that they have been slapped or have to fit in to dumb it down until I'm successful like somebody else.
Until then, they continue to play dumb game and we need to create the language and welcome specifically women because women are being told, Oh, you have to pretend so that you don't threaten men or you don't speak up. And so you might not know, but I don't know. I've been told many times. Ojisan korogashinasai (let older men do it). I can't do that. I don't know how. But things like that, you have to fit in. So, so those are the kind of things I learned that just because of what they say doesn't sound impressive. I almost wrote it out, but I actually met-- I was really impressed in that their revenue is small, but they are as passionate as intelligent and as intentional than I ever thought. So I think there's a huge potential.
I think if there's a systematic change. The point of view has to be changed for women to rise and speak up. Tom? Yeah, just to echo that idea, I think, you know, among both male and female founders that come to D for V for investment, a difference that I see between the Japanese startups and the American startups has to do with storytelling, because our Japanese founders are amazing. They're they're very smart. They're super dedicated to their businesses. And, you know, sometimes they have a you know, the core of their business is really fascinating. But they just don't
bring it in the way that that a US founder would do it. And like I just, you know, sometimes I just want to shake them like, are you excited about your company? Because if you're not excited, how am I going to be excited? And so I really do believe that in some cases and this extends to some of our, you know, our larger clients, too, at IDEO, it is the core, the story inside is amazing, but they just don't always kind of show it on the outside. So, you know, I watched this battle in the early 2000s between Sony, unquestionably the number one consumer electronic company in the world in the year 2000 and Apple. Right. And I, I will not say that Apple's products were necessarily better at any time in that process, but they did have a really, really good storyteller. Right. And I remember a long time ago there
just, I think, retiring this product, but a long time ago, Steve Jobs held up not this, but the very early product called an iPod, the first original iPod. And it was not you know, there were plenty of other MP3 players already on the market. But he held this up and said, like, do you know what this is? And I'm thinking, yeah, that's going to be an MP3 player. I don't need that. I've got my Sony Walkman. You know, my disc Walkman that's got perfect sound. And it's like everything I want, I've got I've got a stack of CDs that I carry around with me or I have in my car. I'm fine.
I don't need your product. That's what I'm thinking. I didn't say it out loud. No one says that to Steve Jobs. You know, I'm thinking I don't need that product. But he didn't say this is an MP3 player or this has clever digital compression. He said, you know what this is? And he said six words, This is a thousand songs in your pocket. And I thought, got to have one of those, a thousand songs, because I don't have more than a thousand songs.
I mean, the you know, at the time I'm thinking that's the soundtrack of my entire life in that little thing, which, by the way, is smaller than this. This iPhone got to have one of those, right? So he took this product that was good. Undeniably a good product, had that movable wheel at the time. It was pretty cool. But he took a product I didn't want and in six words, cut it into got to have it right. And that's what I want from our
Japanese entrepreneurs. I want them to just bring it with the very best story that they can create for their company, for their product. And I believe and we we coach them, we have a class called Storytelling for Startups, but I believe if they could just get that a little better, it would help them raise money and find customers in Japan, help them raise money and find customers in America. Oh, so it's more like a mindset issue, right? It's a mindset. It gets back to that book title again, right? I wrote a book called Creative Confidence translated into Japanese that's called Creative Mindset. See the word that got lost in there? Confidence, I believe. I know Japanese people don't
believe this, but I have data I have like Jesper Koll, I can I can marshal data that says Japan is the most creative nation on earth. The world believes that by some metrics, by some surveys, the world believes Japan is the most creative company on earth. I mean, country on Earth. Guess what? Japan doesn't believe it. The data from Japan does not support that. No, America is more creative. Why is that? Is that because of a personality issue? I mean, you could say it's humility, but this is on an anonymous survey. So they're not just being humble there.
It gets down to that word that got lost in my title, Confidence. I just want our entrepreneurs, our creative startup founders, to marshal their confidence, just as I was talking about in the women that she's helping. Right. And just, you know, show that, bring it to the table in a way that helps them get funding, that helps them get customers. Thank you. We have only three minutes and half. So I think before we go to question answer, I'd like ask Chris about how would ChatGPT impact design business? Yeah, I think it's-- Chaso I'm glad we covered that earlier in the day.
So we didn't have to be the first ones to say generative AI or large language models. I think there is a, an incredible opportunity. Usually when there is such a disruption and a fresh canvas, design is such a great tool and mindset to be able to actually use and connect use cases and take those use cases, make a prototype, test it and try it out on the way towards whatever the right interface is. I don't believe we-- the best
I want to participate in as a designer and investor and enabler with these large language models, because I think we have we have such an amazing canvas to things to try out. We have a lot of things to work through in terms of who owns it, privacy, all of those kind of things. But what an incredible "toy to tool". So where is this tool development and how will we start to use these in our day to day lives? We're going to start a little a series of work sessions in our innovation center on just kind of trying them out and seeing what kind of tickles our fancy, but also go around to our big corporate members and have them try to solve a problem, internal or external, for using using this large language models. I think that the tool and the
interface to that somebody is going to come up with that. And I really do believe that will be design led in the discovery or at least the process of of prototyping and refining what that looks like and how we experience it. So you don't think that AI will not not replace the designer? Well, I'm glad you said that because. So I used to get introduced as a design thinking speaker at Singularity University. And my my colleague Saleem, he would say, well, Chris is going to be the last one to be replaced by AI. And I. I sent him a note this week and
I said clock was ticking. You know, it did take eight years. But the designer, I think if you merge this idea of of design thinking can be a tool for anyone. You guys can all use these tools. And I think somebody in an earlier panel said there's so it's such a great time to be an entrepreneur or an intrepreneur as a way because you have so many of these tools at your fingertips.
All you need is that process to say, What am I? Where's the need? What am I trying to solve? How do I create the first prototype of this? And it's so easy. All you have to do is open a browser window and try something out. I think that kind of refinement is going to be at warp speed. It has. I mean, just a year ago, we were looking at DALL·E trying to go from show me avocado chairs to to where we are now. So this this kind of gradually and
suddenly is going to get even more interesting and weird in the next days and months. So I think I would say design, just think like a designer and try the tools. I think you're going to unpack a tremendous amount of value.
Good. Thank you. Just time for a question answer. I want to take the main question, so please keep it short. Please raise your hand. Raise your hand. No question? Alan?
So in the trade off between getting the product right versus getting the story right. Where when you're working with your clients or particularly with startups, where do you put your emphasis if you had to trade off one or the other? Who do you want to ask? Tom. Oh, sure. I mean, touche. You got to have the product, right? It's just it's not as hard as it used to be to get the product right. Okay, Oracle and Salesforce and just about every startup I worked with had a terrible product versus their competitors for a long time in the marketplace, but a really, really strong story. And the story led the company to eventually make enough business to get the product right. But I imagine with your clients you're a little more particular on what you do with the product. Well, with both our clients and
with our startup companies, we would never encourage them to have the bad product. So but it is certainly there are some things not quite ready for prime time. Right? You have the-- it's the concept of minimum viable product. You go to market, you can't wait, especially as a startup. You can't wait until you have the perfect product to bring to market.
You have to go to market with the product, you know, has a bunch of things you want to fix later. Hopefully nothing like dangerous that you want to fix later. But but you're absolutely right about that and there of the story. --The difference at Oracle
at the end of the day-- the difference at Oracle at the end of the day was the IBM investment and the difference at Intel at the end of the day and at Microsoft at the end of the day was the IBM investment and the wording was always the same. We've received an investment from a large corporate whose name we cannot identify. It's like the references to the government.
We received an investment from a Japanese government agency whose name we can't identify. So that was the real key. We invested in a relational database competitor of Oracle who had a better product. Yeah. Okay. Thank you. But Oracle one. Hori-san? We have done research. GLOBIS has done research about ten years ago of creativity, and the data showed that Japan was perceived as the most creative country in the world.
And your data IDEO says the same. Why is it? like what do you think is the root of the creativity of Japan, you know, about Japanese culture and why do you think it happened? Well, I mean, there's 100 ways to answer that. I mean, if you look at the design tradition, you know, my company was started in 1978.
When did the design tradition start in Japan? A couple of thousand years earlier. Right. So there's a very long tradition of design in Japan and refinement of that and incredible dedication to making things perfectly right in the representation of that. So there's that. But I mean, another data point I would say is in my role at IDEO, I have sent more than 100 people off to Japan for their first trip.
And let me just say, okay, including Chris Cowart and let me just say 100%. I mean this without hesitation, 100% of them came back just gushing about a what an amazing place Japan was in general, but B, the design esthetic that everything and I don't mean just the physical design of things of shoji panel, the designed experience, the omotenashi service, the you know, the way people interact with you. Right. And so I just think Japan is amazing. And as someone who really, really loves Japan, I have to say that not all of that long tradition of design or that amazing service service has translated into the digital world. And I think there's a lot of work to be done, and we want to help both as an investor and as a design consultancy in bringing that specialness of Japan into the digital world, because it's not always it doesn't live up to the incredibly high design standard that Japan has about everything else. I love about the G1 Summit that Hori-san gets the 30s timer as well.
So that's I think just to build on that question, I think there's a part of creativity around craft of design and refinement and tradition in the entrepreneurial nature in Japan. On the flip side of that, how does that get somehow changed in the corporate setting? And I think we should all ask ourselves that question. We see that with our with our with our clients and our members. Why does that get shifted?
And that is we have some really interesting conversations with HR leaders in big Japanese companies about the role of the Japanese intrepreneur. How do you get somebody to start and step outside of their acceleration pathway risk areas? How do you get people to take that risk internally somehow that has been squashed. It's beautiful outside of the big company and somehow we need to work to unlock that. I just want to add, Japanese culture is very relational, which is I can't say I'm beautiful you have to wait till voting. How many people think I'm beautiful so because the Japanese culture resides on the relational, no matter how creative they are, they have to wait till they receive award. So one of the main concept that
I teach my entrepreneurs is you say I choose, I choose, so I choose this chair or I choose this pen and I don't have to explain because I chose because I like it. I don't care what you think, but I choose. So the power of choosing and claiming that that means this to me. This is innovative,
this is beautiful. I teach those mindset to high school girls as well as entrepreneurs, because without you valuing yourself and having the confidence to walk through and convincing other people you cannot be an entrepreneur. So maybe that's something is to say you can choose and you can be proud and without waiting for the approval, maybe that could be some beginning to having confidence. Yeah, that's true. So other questions? No questions? There. Maybe I want to ask more. Okay.
We didn't talk much about the-- we've been talking about the design, particularly for startups, but not for, you know, established companies. Why is that? Is that because, you know, it's difficult for the big company to to utilize design thinking? No. Well, just from my standpoint, I've been talking about startups because that's where I spend all of my time. Okay.
For more than 30 years, I focused on big companies and they can totally do this. And IDEO has a big global business consulting with mainly large companies, just the startups. I've been focusing on that recently. And startups are more fun. That's the only reason for me. Chris. Yeah, I think there's an interesting I mean, this is I would say this to, to US big companies as well that kind of can't get out of their own way in terms of developing innovations from within.
I'm definitely a big believer for big companies to have a multi prong innovation strategy where you should be able to buy innovation and you should be able to to home grow it. When you are home growing it. There are some-- it seems easier in a US company to have had a couple of successes inside the company and somehow get the funding and the team and the resources to be able to go out and say, I'm going to start a CVC or I'm going to start an innovation lab over here, or I'm going to try a spin out business. And somehow that pitch does not ring true inside the Japanese companies as well. I'd still like to get to the
root of that. My hypothesis is that we can empower that through intrepreneurs. Intrapreneurs, I'd love during the breaks and throughout the day for you guys to help me think through what is the right word for entrepreneur. That is the totally Silicon Valley flip between entrepreneur and intrepreneur. But that kind of intrepreneurial mindset is the piece that we have seen as evidence of when we work with companies thinking about this, this personal transformation that they go through and that they will never be the same in terms of being able to work inside their companies. Hopefully they stay inside their
company and continue that passion. But I think that is a huge unlock that we could work on together. Thank you. Oh, okay. So one of the ways I keep selling your company is that we have we get everyone together and he leads these brainstorming and we always have brainstorming with the entire company on new products. And we throw up literally thousands of ideas and chase them down. And it's not just one day we
vote on our great ideas and we have people follow through on seeing those. It's like going to the same restaurant every day and seeing the menu. It's not fun. It's eat or be eaten. It's fun to come up with new products, even if you've been around for 10 or 20 years. Okay. Jesper? It's funny. You know, new products, you know, you know, in Japan, every 12 days, a new soft drink is launched. Every 12 days. Right. You know,
so I want to ask you a question in this whole design thing. Right. What's the difference between Kaizen and innovation? Because you know, industrial Japan. Right. In terms of incremental change, perfection, relentless. Every bloody day. (points at timer) Champagne! Oh well, you know, I know you get German champagne. Anyway. the difference between. No, sorry.
the reason I bring this monumental question because, you know, we live in American concepts, right? Innovation for innovation change, which is fine, but there is internal strength in Japan. So what's the difference between innovation and Kaizen? So sure, I'm happy to take it. So I would say I wouldn't use the word difference in that sentence. In the Venn diagram of there's innovation, which is a big circle, and Kaizen is absolutely, positively a form of innovation. I say this as someone who almost every car I've ever bought in my life has been a Toyota. They came with that Toyota
production system and it's makes a pretty darn good car, right? Every literally every television I have ever bought is a Sony. So I believe in that Kaizen model of make it continuously better. And that is a form of innovation. That form of innovation doesn't
necessarily get you to the iPod or it doesn't get you to the new business models that have you know, when we come to digital transformation of industries, it's typically not, you know, tweaking a new product. It's typically reinventing a business model. You know, Uber, Airbnb, I know neither of those are very popular in Japan, but they've got, you know, tens of billions of dollars of value, right? And so the Kaizen model, from my experience, and you may have examples where it does, but from my experience, it doesn't lead you to that breakthrough that takes you to the new level.
And then you fine tune at the new level. And then you need to take another leap. Chris? And one of the things I think as a challenge for us as leaders is figuring out how to do both of those things at the same time. And in your same organizations, whether you're a big company trying to figure out how to to get to that next level or an entrepreneur who's access one TAM and is now trying to figure out how to grow or move to another. This whether you want to call it ambidextrous or just trying to figure out how to amplify one of your business units and still look for new growth, you have to figure out the right talent process, but also incentives. Incentives for that is typically the way that the business units and my observation of Japanese companies thinking they're so good at Kaizen and optimizing those business units, it really makes it hard to do the new growth because then you measure it against these. The current standards is really
challenging. I agree with what both of you are saying. So one of our cherished values is innovation and that includes Kaizen and we pay people more who innovate. So people submit bonus, I guess their bonuses. They do write ups of their coworkers who have innovated and a lot of them are kaizen like innovations.
They just get paid more money, people who innovate. And part of it is coming up with something new, making something more efficient. So as far as I'm concerned, they're both valuable. Thank you very much. One more question, if I may. Okay, Ishizaki-san? Very quickly, we have only two minutes. Question for Horie-san. Is there
anything you have learned working with female entrepreneurs or startups that can be incorporated or implemented into existing organizations trying to bring females up the ranks? Yeah, I think it's all around systemic issue. So instead of focusing on fixing women. Am I too direct? But it's systematically what kind of "shougaibutsu", the roadblock because one way you get better and stronger and succeed but the other way is women have a lot of "shougaibutsu", all those distractions.
And so one is to also paying attention because often we ended up looking at efficiency and "motto gambar", work harder. But at the other way is systemically what's pulling them down is sometimes is much better for not just for women. If you can do that then men too benefit just all around. So looking at the "shougaibutsu" is I think it's quick things you could do in all levels. Yeah. And start questioning. It's what we have currently might be a very mature model and if you can start identifying it, you can have a space to create new design for not much or whatever. That might be neutral.
But I have from academia that if you have more diversity, then it relates to more innovation. Yes, of course. Yeah. Okay. Okay. We ran out of time. So we, we made lots of discussion, but I'm happy to end, you know, in a good manner.
So thank you very much for everybody, give a big (round of applause) .