Through the 1980s, Japan was significant in global competition largely by shaping global technological trajectories, transforming major global industries, and contributing to fundamental innovations in industrial production processes, creating enough wealth along the way to propel Japan to the world’s second largest economy. After the economic bubble burst in the early 1990s, however, Silicon Valley moved to the forefront of transforming technology, industries, and production, creating vast wealth along the way. While Japan's role in global competition seemingly declined after the 1990s, careful analyses reveal that Japan was in fact transforming--quietly and gradually, but significantly. In a pattern of “syncretism,” Japan’s economic transformation was characterized by the coexistence of new, traditional, and hybrid forms of strategy and organization. Japan’s new startup ecosystem, though small compared to Silicon Valley, has dramatically transformed over the past twenty years through a combination of regulatory shifts, corporate transformations, and technological breakthroughs that have opened up vast new opportunities. Some large corporations such as Komatsu, Honda, Toyota, and Yamaha are undertaking innovative efforts of sorts unseen in Japan’s recent history to harness Silicon Valley and other startup ecosystems into their core business areas.
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), and International Research Fellow at the Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS). He holds a PhD in political science is 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 Information Technology innovation, Silicon Valley’s economic ecosystem, Japan’s political economic transformation since the 1990s, and 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.
4:30pm: Doors open
4:45pm-5:45pm: Talk and Discussion