Passion and patience in business!
Everyone is after “making a quantum leap” in recent years. In order to achieve great visions, ambitious targets, re-accelerate growth, and create a sustainable world at the same time… Having said that, these ambitions are mostly replaced by jargon fatigue and disbelief since making a leap in itself “is easier said than done”.
What is the formula to ensure that the leap goes beyond lip service?
“The formula lies in bringing together the troika of cooperation, passion and patience.”
I discovered the power of this formula last October in Japan, at the “STS Science and Technology in Society” forum I participated in. The Japanese culture, of which one of the major components is the will to succeed, has enticed me once again in Kyoto, the city of temples.
Let’s see “what the Japanese have done again?
PASSION OF 10 YEARS OF THE RETIRED MINISTER OF FINANCE
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the STS (Science and Technology in Society) forum is a social responsibility platform aiming to support the resolution of deadlocks in sustainability of today’s world through wider participation by balancing out problems created by rapid advancement in science and technology. The platform, which brings the world’s leading scientists, bureaucrats and business people together every year, and lets them interact with one another for three days, could actually be called “the Davos of technology”.
Attracting quite qualified and high participation every year, the STS forum owes this success to the 82-year-old retired Minister of Finance and Technology of Japan, Koji Omi, who patiently traveled around the world on the “hunt for ideas and participants”. I, too, participated in the forum as panelist in the “Innovation in Industry” session owing to the fact that I met Mr. Omi back in March 2013, and was very impressed with his energy. I believe it is Omi’s ambition and energy at this advanced age that has enabled him to sustain such an expansive cooperation platform for 10 years. To me, Omi’s success is one of the best proofs that cooperation can be best achieved by communicating with people from different disciplines with intensive effort and passion.
NEITHER 40 YEARS OF PENANCE, NOR 40 YEARS OF SENTENCE… FOR INNOVATION, YOU NEED 40 YEARS OF PATIENCE!
The innovative approach of leading technology companies was in the spotlight at the forum where many new technology, environment and growth-related problems were discussed from the state-industry-university (the “triple helix”, in short) perspective. Particularly the presentation by the President of the company Toray, a global giant in carbon fiber of which we read about frequently in the daily press, on how they developed and commercialized this technology was worth attending. In his introduction Sakakibara said:
“We invested USD 1.4 billion into this technology in 40 years, and we never doubted that we would succeed one day.”
Imagine that you invest in a technological product that hasn’t been commercialized extensively yet every year for 40 years! That is passion and patience in business: the Japanese way!
THE PROFILE OF THE TECHNOLOGISTS OF THE 21ST CENTURY
The academic agenda, on the other hand, had two dimensions:
- Firstly, it was emphasized that university education, too, had to be “multi-disciplinary” so as to be able to manage the “multi-disciplinary” infrastructure of new technologies. A speaker from Israel expressed this need very aptly: “An engineer who is developing a micro-device that will do valve repair in the heart has to know about physics like an expert physicist, biochemistry like a biochemist, and material sciences like a material scientist!”
- The second dimension was about the critical importance of the communication and leadership strengths of technologists. I understood that leading universities now were aiming to create a difference by making communication and leadership development courses compulsory for engineering programs just like in business administration departments. Considering the importance I attach to leadership communication in my professional life, all the investment I made therein, and then my own previous years as an engineer, I couldn’t help but heave a deep sigh.
Is the leap possible without participation/cooperation? Say you beat the odds, and ensured participation; how far can we get without passion? Alright, let’s say you do have passion, is a permanent solution possible without patience?
I think it needs to be three-in-one!
* Source: STS web link: http://www.stsforum.org/?language=english&this_page=annual-meeting-2013