Large Japanese firms have a long history of having offices in Silicon Valley, mostly starting in the 1980s and 1990s in the heyday of semiconductors, early computing, software, and communications industries. In the past couple decades, as the Silicon Valley ecosystem produced firms that become global giants with new technologies and disruptive business models, the question has become how to most effectively “harness” the Silicon Valley ecosystem. There is currently a surge of large Japanese companies into Silicon Valley, the latest of several surges and retreats. This time around, most firms are aiming to identify new opportunities to collaborate with the startup ecosystem in order to understand future technological and industry trajectories, to facilitate new forms of “open” innovation within the company, and in some cases to even redefine how to add value to their core offerings. However, given a vast differently economic context from their core operations in Japan, many of the large Japanese firms’ initial forays tend to fall into patterns of “worst practices” that are ineffective. Yet, a small but growing number of innovative Japanese companies are producing novel and valuable collaborations with a variety of Silicon Valley firms, investors, and ecosystem players. This talk will introduce the strategies, structures, and activities of Komatsu, Honda, Yamaha, and several other Japanese companies that are undertaking new forms of collaboration with Silicon Valley companies. The talk will survey a range of strategic options available to Japanese companies, with implications for how to better adapt companies from Japan to Silicon Valley, and more broadly from different political economic systems.
Kenji Kushida, Research Scholar, Shorenstein APARC Japan Program and Stanford Silicon Valley-New Japan Project Leader
Kenji E. Kushida is the Japan Program Research Scholar at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University (APARC), Project Leader of the Stanford Silicon Valley – New Japan Project (Stanford SV-NJ), research affiliate of the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (BRIE), International Research Fellow at the Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS), and Visiting Researcher at National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA). He holds a PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA in East Asian studies and BAs in economics and East Asian studies, all from Stanford University.
Kushida’s research streams include 1) Information Technology innovation, 2) Silicon Valley’s economic ecosystem, 3) Japan’s political economic transformation since the 1990s, and 4) the Fukushima nuclear disaster. He has published several books and numerous articles in each of these streams, including “The Politics of Commoditization in Global ICT Industries,” “Japan’s Startups Ecosystem,” “Cloud Computing: From Scarcity to Abundance,” and others. His latest business book in Japanese is “The Algorithmic Revolution’s Disruption: a Silicon Valley Vantage on IoT, Fintech, Cloud, and AI” (Asahi Shimbun Shuppan 2016).
He has appeared in media including The New York Times, Washington Post, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkei Business, NHK, PBS NewsHour, and NPR.
He is also a trustee of the Japan ICU Foundation, a fellow of the US-Japan Leadership Program, an alumni of the Trilateral Commission David Rockefeller Fellows, and a member of the Mansfield Foundation Network for the Future.
4:15pm: Doors open
4:30pm-5:30pm: Talk and Discussion
Register to attend at http://www.stanford-svnj.org/92719-public-forum
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