Defining success through positive development


 I gained my definition of success through Stanford . . .

-Makoto Takeuchi, 2004-2005 Corporate Affiliates Program fellow

When Makoto Takeuchi came to the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) as a Corporate Affiliates Program fellow during the 2004-2005 academic year, he was working as a senior manager with the Business Development Group of Kansai Electric Power Company, located in Osaka, Japan. Osaka, part of Japan's Kansai region, is a bustling metropolis and an important economic and historical center of Japan. Kansai Electric Power Company is a large energy company that utilizes a combination of energy sources, including nuclear power, which makes up over 50 percent of its power supply, as well as thermal (oil, coal, and liquid natural gas) and hydropower.

Takeuchi found the environment of Stanford University, including its situation in Silicon Valley, stimulating. "I was excited by the diversity and speed of dynamic innovation in Silicon Valley, and the people who utilize their knowledge and skills in order to achieve their dreams," he said. Drawing from this, he carried out a research project exploring complementary strategies for sustainable corporate growth. He concluded that such sustainable growth comes from a balance of internal and external resources and short- and long-term gains, driven by innovation, integration, and interaction.

During his time at Shorenstein APARC, Takeuchi also developed his understanding of working as a part of a team on a project. "I learned that the success of projects requires orchestrating the talents and efforts of many people," he said. He now applies his knowledge of teamwork to the work that he does today, including the essential skill of communicating with colleagues from different cultural and professional backgrounds. Being sensitive to the values of others is crucial when it comes to collaboration, he learned.

Prior to coming to Stanford University, Takeuchi had not yet defined his own idea of "success." He now measures success by the positive impact that he has on society, which to him is evidenced by the "smiles on the faces of my customers, stakeholders, and family." Takeuchi has the opportunity to effect positive economic and energy development in his new position as a senior energy specialist with the World Bank's East Asia Sustainable Development Department. "When I considered how I could make the most of my skills . . . the answer was to provide clean energy through a sophisticated power system with renewable energy and to contribute to what people in the region really want," he explained. In his role with the World Bank, Takeuchi is working toward increasing access to cleaner energy and laying the foundation for sustainable growth in developing countries, and, of course, to gain smiles in the process.

For current and future Corporate Affiliates fellows, Takeuchi imparts the wisdom: "As soon as possible, you should discover the criteria for evaluating your own success. Then, you should just run toward it!"