Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

Japanese urged to facilitate inwards FDI (BEST PRACTICE)

May 14, 2009

A new report from Harvard Business School researchers suggests that Japan’s hierarchical forms of business organization serve to impede innovation by “locking out” certain forms of new ideas and concepts. The authors say Japan needs to introduce new legislative measures that break up these barriers.

Suggested reforms include stricter antitrust enforcement, improving the legal infrastructure (e.g., supporting training for more business law attorneys), and lowering barriers to foreign investment.

All of these steps will help free up the flow of ideas and creativity in Japan’s business sectors.  “Capitalizing on Innovation:  The Case of Japan,” by Robert Dujarric and Andrei Hagiu, Harvard Business School.

Contributed by Mark Marich at Entrepreneurship.ORG

Innovation Policy – Germany benchmarked

October 17, 2008


A 420 page study ‘New Challenges for Germany in the Innovation Competition’ has come to our attention courtesy of the National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship.


The report benchmarks Germany’s innovation performance against China, France, India, Korea, USA and Japan. The report reads like an OECD country survey – but suffers from extreme verbosity and lacks a tight summary section. Nevertheless it is a treasure trove of material e.g. interesting section on Korea’s cluster program.


Some of the salient points:

§          Germany faces challenges in coordinating policies across different parts of its Federal system.

§          In terms of strategies, German innovation policies place great emphasis on support for SMEs.

§          German policymakers must promote technology transfer and commercialization in a fragmented environment characterized by numerous research organizations and SMEs.

§          Overall, Germany shows great strengths in areas related to international trade and key technology sectors. Information technology is an exception, with Germany’s international technology profile lagging other economies.

§          Germany is now aiming to spend 3% of GDP on R&D.


Go to New Challenges for Germany in the Innovation Competition

Asia Pacific Technology Exchange wins global attention (BEST PRACTICE)

April 13, 2008


The unstinting efforts of Cockatoo member, Geoff Mullins, were rewarded on 28 March with the launch of the Asia Pacific Technology Exchange by local federal member Maxine McKew MP. She said that ‘this is the innovation economy at work.’


The Exchange is designed to help establish a Silicon Valley-style business cluster in northern Sydney.


The launch also attracted global attention – excerpt of the article in the International Herald Tribune follows.


SYDNEY — A new Australian exchange, aiming to emulate the U.S. Nasdaq index with a focus on technology and innovation stocks, was established Wednesday with plans to become fully operational by the second half of 2008.


The Asia Pacific Technology Exchange, or Aptex, is a joint venture of the National Stock Exchange of Australia and Enterprise Pacific, a not-for-profit company. Based in Sydney, the venture plans to start with a minimum of 20 listed companies. The chairman of Enterprise Pacific, Geoff Mullins, said the new exchange expected to have 200 to 300 companies listed within its first 2-3 years. Mullins said he was not concerned about liquidity on the new exchange, which had been a problem in earlier attempts to establish exchanges in Australia, because of support from brokers and from connections being forged in the Asia-Pacific region. ”We are absolutely certain that this is under way. We have stakeholders signing up, we have companies signing up and we are ready to go.”


NSX had held discussions with stock exchanges in Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, PNG and Fiji on their possible participation. Inquiries had also been received from companies in Taiwan and Korea, and it was possible that 5 of the first 20 companies on the exchange could be Asian. Mullins estimated the total market capitalization of companies listed on the exchange to initially be between $350-650 million.

Contact Geoff at

Collaborator Profile – David Dodd (Louisiana, USA)

November 13, 2007

A key member of our international alliance is David Dodd – a world expert in networks, clusters and collaboration. Here’s his backgrounder. His advice is spot on.

Who and where are you? – I’m David Dodd (CEcD), CEO of DADCO Consulting, Inc. based in Shreveport, a metro area of 400,000+ in the northwest corner of Louisiana, which is in the south-central U.S. bordering Texas to the west.  I have worked in 47 states in the U.S., and in Europe, Mexico/Central America, Japan, and many places in Australia, which I consider my second home.     

What’s your job? 

I run an economic development consultancy…actually DADCO is a loose network of consultants for whom I serve as the de-facto broker.  I do everything even remotely connected with economic development, but my areas of specialisation are collaborative/cluster based development, development finance, workforce, and technology.  I have been on the economic development speaking circuit for many years, and am known as “Preacher” for my impassioned, southern U.S.-accented speaking style.    

What’s exciting you at present?

I am developing an Internet Television network that will be broadcast via satellite worldwide.  The network will feature three components:  Knowledge and information on best practices in economic development; tools to build capacity in developing regions (community leadership, public sector management, sustainable development, etc.); and forging collaboration between communities, and businesses within those communities, worldwide.     

What are your top 3 tips on how to collaborate?  

1.  Always remember the WIIFM principle – show each potential collaborator ‘What’s In It For Me’.  Tell them how working together helps each achieve their own “selfish” goals.     

2.  Share success stories lavishly…nothing motivates collaboration like the competitive spirit that comes from sharing others’ success…in their heart of hearts, no one wants to be left out! 

3.  Set the rules of the game early.  Let everyone know that there are rules in place to protect their sovereignty, maximize benefits, and deal with those who may not play fairly.  Any collaborative effort must have a plan and the key question should be “if this were an entreprise, would an investor put money into it?”

What collaborative projects would interest Cockatoo readers?  One of the most satisfying collaborations I work with is in my home region of North Louisiana. CERT (Consortium for Education, Research, and Technology) is comprised of 11 institutions of higher learning, none of which is a major university, and a non-profit biomedical research foundation. These institutions work together on a variety of levels to leverage each others’ strengths.  They have collaborated to offer doctorial level degree programs in bioinformatics, computer modeling, and education management, which none of the member institutions could have offered alone.  I also am working with the Ensenada Biotech Council a collaborative of biotechnology firms in Ensenada, Baja California Mexico.  Ensenada, a beautiful city on Mexico’s upper west coast known as “The Cambridge of Mexico”, has more PhDs per capita than any city in the country. This group of small-to-midsize firms is very active in building R&D capacity, and has engaged the state government fully in helping aggressively market not just the location, but also benefits of being a member of the Council, to biotech entrepreneurs in both Mexico and the U.S.  This two-faceted approach shows how place has become less important, and more important.  They are also a powerful voice for cultural, entertainment, and quality housing development in the region.      Finally, I am working in Central Louisiana to form a network centered on knowledge and innovation. To be called the CENLA Advantage Workforce Alliance, the network will bring companies together along common knowledge and learning capacity needs. The concept of Knowledge Intermediaries is gaining momentum in the U.S. because in a fully globalized economy, the lines between industry classifications are quickly blurring (many “manufacturing” firms are simply logistics companies that source, package, and market products globally) and competitive advantage is found in the knowledge systems that foster innovation.  CAWA will concentrate on identifying and implementing these knowledge systems across different industries.   

Contact details
E-Mail:  or or phone: (318) 525-5559

Rise in R&D tax breaks, says OECD

November 11, 2007

More OECD governments are giving companies tax breaks to drive innovation and cut their direct spending on R&D, while also encouraging public research organisations to commercialise their inventions, according to a new OECD report.

The key findings of the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2007 are:
·          two thirds of OECD members offer businesses tax subsidies – up from 12 a decade ago.
·          Spain, China, Mexico and Portugal provide the largest tax subsidies.
·          Canada and the Netherlands continue to be more generous to small firms.
·          Emerging economies – Brazil, India, Singapore, South Africa – also offer a generous tax environment for businesses investing in R&D.
·          Sharp rise in globalisation of innovation e.g. international co-authorship of scientific publications.
·          Foreign ownership of domestic patents up 50% between early 1990s and early 2000s.
·          EU countries interact most with each other – less globalised than USA (interesting!).
·          Total gross expenditure on R&D grew 4.6% p.a. in real terms between 1995-2001, but slowed to 2.2% p.a. between 2001-2005.
·          In the USA, 4/5 of researchers work in business sector – in Japan it’s 2/3, and 1/2 in EU.
·          No. of business researchers grew rapidly in smaller OECD countries – NZ, Portugal, Spain, Iceland and Greece (10% p.a. in past decade). In China, 15% p.a.
·          USA has the most biotech firms (2,200), followed by Japan and France (800 each). But biotech patents has been falling – due to more restrictive criteria applied by patent offices, and end of the wave of patenting that followed the decoding of the human genome.
·          80% of Korean households have high-speed broadband access – also has highest surplus in ICT goods trade balance, followed by Finland, Hungary and Japan.

Contact us at for more information.

Toyota’s model for success – Kaizen and the Art of Creative Thinking

November 11, 2007

The Superfactory newsletter in the US is an excellent repository of information and ideas relating to manufacturing innovation. It currently features an article on Kaizen and the Art of Creative Thinking, the classic from Dr. Shigeo Shingo, the original Lean Manufacturing genius. Superfactory claims that Kaizen and the Art of Creative Thinking provides the single most important tool for initiating a Lean transformation, specifically Dr. Shingo’s own Scientific Thinking Mechanism. Never before published in English, you now have access to Toyota’s secret model of success – you can learn how to dissect the status quo to address the actual problem, generate innovative ideas in group environments, and learn the best way to implement solutions. This book unlocks the secret to managing creative thinking.

One chapter is available for free download.

Well, we visited the excerpt of Dr. Shingo’s work and it makes for extremely interesting reading. A section covers IDEAS GENERATION, which is defined as formulating solutions that move beyond the status quo.  On the other hand, JUDGEMENT tends to be a passive and internally-oriented mental activity opposed to such action stemming from our fear of change. Dr. Shingo walks the reader through examples of how to get the balance right.

To me there are two messages:

·          You must be alert to people whose first instinct is to criticize an idea.
·          You should nurture the free thinkers, but have the right reality checks. 

More Information and to download Chapter 5, From Ideas to Reality

Contact us at for further leads.

Japan embraces Enterprise Zones

October 17, 2007

At a time when many rural regions are grappling with how to deal with agglomeration effects drawing investment and jobs to the cities, it is refreshing to see that Japan is implementing strategies to ameliorate the problem.

Treasury-dominated bureaucracies elsewhere see such initiatives as picking winners or distorting the market. One of our readers has alerted us to the Japanese approach, as follows. In 2002 the Cabinet of Prime Minister Koizumi put forward the idea of special zones for structural reform, areas where certain regulations would be eased or lifted. The plan is a centerpiece of the government’s structural reform efforts. The goal is to stimulate local economies, not by mechanisms created by the central government, but by soliciting ideas that take advantage of the unique characteristics of particular areas.  The Japanese Government was hoping for a small number of projects that would result in significant economic benefits and would be easy to replicate nationwide. But the interest of local governments was much greater than expected, and there were 129 applications. The government approved roughly 90% of the applications, leading to the creation of 117 special zones for structural reform during 2003.  

Example 1 – City of Kitakyushu

Involves an “international distribution special zone” featuring 24-hour customs and quarantine services and a relaxation of the rules governing the supply of electricity. The cost of electric power has been reduced to promote the entry of new firms. After-hours customs procedures are in place at the Tachinoura Container Terminal, and the central government is being asked to extend this to the Kokura Container Terminal. 

Example 2 – Fukuoka Prefecture

One of a number of special zones seeking to expand the flow of goods internationally. It is close geographically, historically, and economically to the rest of Asia, and thus aims to make use of this relationship and develop an Asian business hub. Entry requirements for foreign researchers and engineers have been relaxed. The goal is to gather together companies doing business both domestically and abroad, to nurture venture start-ups, and to promote the economic revitalization of Kyushu and western Japan. 

Japan not in genteel decline, says Lowy analysis

October 16, 2007
In a new Lowy Institute report, Malcolm Cook and Huw McKay challenge the conventional wisdom that Japan is a nation in genteel decline. 
On the contrary, they argue that Japan’s economy, its political system and its foreign and defence policies are all undergoing fundamental transformations that will make Japan a much bigger and more unpredictable player in the affairs of the Asia Pacific region. 

 Dr. Malcolm Cook is Program Director, Asia & the Pacific (Lowy Institute) and Huw McKay is Senior International Economist at Westpac. The report can be downloaded at

New emphases in aid field

October 16, 2007




The Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) in Tokyo in May 2006 highlighted some VERY timely issues worthy of contemplation by economic development practitioners.     

§          A call for new analytical and evaluation tools to help infrastructure choices in energy, transportation, water. ”Our approach to infrastructure must focus not just on economic growth or human growth,” said Bank President Paul Wolfowitz in his opening address “It must also focus on ‘smart’ growth…growth that is economically sound, environmentally friendly, socially acceptable, locally desirable, and most important, growth that makes a difference in people’s lives.

§          Infrastructure investments have often failed the test, said Japanese Finance Minister Tanigaki. “Hasn’t donor support simply left ‘white elephants’ behind? Have we paid enough attention to adverse environmental and social impacts? Have we had sufficient dialogue with stakeholders?”

§          WB Chief Economist Bourguignon argued for better understanding of linkages between infrastructure investments and growth; getting the right balance between public and private involvement; dealing with cross-border issues and externalities – shared road and rail links, shared pollution; establishment of systems to deliver better data and evaluation.

§          JICA will merge with the ODA lender Japan Bank for International Cooperation in 2008, forming “the world’s second-largest integrated development agency after the World Bank.” 

§          Richard Manning (DAC Chairman) noted that “emerging donors” – Russia, Korea, Poland, Turkey, Brazil, China, South Africa, India – are using aid to position themselves to transform their relations with other countries. This could result in a slowdown in developing-country reform efforts.

§          Manning applauded moves by the UK, Ireland, Norway, and Australia to untie 100% of their aid, and Canada’s decision to allow 50% of its food aid to be procured in the beneficiary region.  


Swedish analysis of R&D internationalization (RECOMMENDED READING)

October 16, 2007

The National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship has kindly forwarded us details of some quite extraordinary Swedish analysis, ‘The Internationalization of Corporate R&D – Leveraging the changing geography of R&D’. It is from the Swedish Institute for Growth Policy Studies.

Very thorough, readable and timely. 300+ pages. Canvasses the driving forces of R&D and why MNEs are distributing their innovative activities and creating global R&D networks. Explains why strategic decisions to locate R&D close to production, markets and knowledge centers are becoming so important. Includes country studies – China, India, Japan, US, Sweden – and studies of different sectors and approaches.

Download The Internationalization of Corporate R&D: Leveraging the Changing Geography of Innovation.