Daisuke: Accelerating the growth speed of major firms with eco systems formed with cutting-edge companies
I joined Roland Berger over 15 years from now. At the time, there were only around 30 employees at the Tokyo office, but we grew rapidly by making a clear distinction between the many American global firms and establishing long-term relationships with our customers while committing to the strategic execution phase. On the other hand, in recent years, we have been attempting new challenges by anticipating the new trends in international development and the big waves towards innovation. In the past 1-2 years in particular, we have conducted repeated approaches that differ significantly from other firms led by Mr. Nagashima (President and CEO). This is the “Japan Strategy 2.0”. The core theme is to dramatically increase the speed of companies that desire innovation.
Many of the customers that we have built relationships of trust with over many years are major firms with proven track records. However, in our society in the future, speed will be a key priority regardless of the size of the company. We believe that it is our mission to transform companies into organizations that can act swiftly, like a cheetah preying on a giant elephant, and to accelerate innovations. There are four core actions to achieve this mission. They are the future concept project, the mass production of new businesses, acceleration and speed BPR.
The first action, a future concept project, envisions the state of our society and industries in the year 2035, as well as “the happiest state” of companies. As digital innovations are transforming all businesses and the world that we live in, many refer to the present climate as an “age of uncertainty”. However, unless we can properly imagine and conceive a happier future, and set indicators, which act as a compass for the future, in the medium- and long-term perspective, neither we, nor our customers can take action. We are thinking it through frankly with condition settings regardless of whether it may seem out of reach at the moment.
The second action is the creation of new businesses, but what is important is to adopt a stance to mass-produce. We have already begun to take concrete action while emphasizing the importance of “achieving change through trial and error”. As it now stands, we have already achieved collaborations with over ten cutting-edge venture companies and have built an ecosystem to implement the changes. One of those companies is Astamuse Company, Ltd. Various forms of information relating to “knowledge” is accumulated at the company, which leads the world in the intellectual information platform business. Everything from patent information, the latest investment information through venture capital and advanced research information conducted at universities can be used effectively. Understanding what kinds of research and patent cases are hot can contribute when a major Japanese company selects an open innovation partner.
The third action is acceleration. Simply thinking about it at a desk will not lead to the mass production of new businesses. Ever since many companies have begun aiming for a digital transformation, the calls for the importance of PoC (proof-of-concept) have grown, but we have already begun to act with concreteness in this situation as well. In effect, “high-speed PoC”. We utilize our partnerships with cutting-edge companies to drive PoC at the same speed of a startup venture.
The final action is speed BPR, but this is different from the business improvement that has been carried out from before. By actively injecting highly effective digital technologies such as RPA and IoT, it is possible to dramatically accelerate business operation. Similarly, we have already begun to collaborate with cutting-edge companies. For example, at Core Concept Technologies Inc., they are equipped with the knowhow to reduce the production period of molds, which serves as the foundation of the manufacturer’s production process, from 45 days to 45 hours. While carrying out the new business plans, when the production of a prototype becomes necessary, platforms that enable users to incorporate the component levels over the Web and design them can be utilized.
The sense of discomfort will eventually turn into exhilaration
Feel the changes overturned by stereotypes
As stated above, at Roland Berger, we not only simply preach “how things should be,” but we also establish an ecosystem and have already produced results by increasing the speed of the process of constructing an “ideal situation” along with the speed of implementing that process. We take pride in the fact that our sense of impending crisis regarding “how our strategic consulting must be changed at an ultrahigh speed” was stronger than anywhere else as the main reason why we were able to progress this far in just a matter of a few years.
Having said that, I myself was skeptical at first. Mr. Nagashima took the initiative to bring in many of the discussions regarding collaborations with cutting-edge companies, but I would often ask, “What kind of company are they? Should we not take a step back from establishing collaborations before we closely investigate and confirm them?” Of course, even though some of the companies that have become our valuable partners were on a smaller scale or did not have an extensive history, they were able to maintain their own unique strengths, but the main factor that particularly changed my awareness was the sense of surprise that each company expressed. In this case, the sense of surprise came from the fact that “we could achieve our goals together by utilizing the specific strengths of each company.” Today, many major firms are attempting to achieve change with open innovations through collaborations with venture companies, but the fact is many of them are facing difficulties. I can say now that things often do not go well if you tell yourself that “some companies are on a completely different level than us and possess capabilities that we can never achieve.” In other words, because the people at our company, myself included, fought hard and struggled for open innovation, we understand its importance and difficulty. That is why now, I believe that we are able to solidly contribute to the innovation of our customers more than anywhere else.
While this is a new challenge, we feel a sense of dynamism that is unique to the era of innovation by utilizing Roland Berger’s unique strategic characteristics and effectiveness. That is why we want people who can shape that sense of surprise with excitement to participate in the future. The dynamism of the times can only be experienced within the circle of building the future, but Roland Berger can declare without a doubt that this feeling can be experienced in the age of future innovations.
- Photos type shukatsu; Lightcome/iStock; Sven Siepen; Tom Merton/iStock; Takashi Kitajima/Getty images