The first Leadership Forum in three years concludes after impassioned and energizing discussions over the future of jobs, digital transformation and Japan
Tokyo, Japan (Nov 11, 2022) - “As part of the young generation, we crave for ideas like these,” said Toshi Hatori at the first Leadership Forum in three years held Thursday at the newly relocated offices of Robert Half. “I was very energized and inspired by all the comments at this fantastic event,” he added.
Hatori, who just recently found employment at a multinational financial and insurance corporation in Tokyo, belongs to the Generation Z employees who are just starting bright new careers.
However in Japan, 60.1% of this generation say their outlook for the future is clouded with financial concerns in a country that has seen stagnating wages, rising debt and falling GDP for years now.
It was at this Leadership Forum that Hatori despite these concerns was able to find inspiration as 31 c-suite executives of major firms, both local and overseas, gathered to discuss how to best manage the complex issues of surviving change in a culture risk-averse and beholden to the status-quo.
“The question is how to manage people and create agile, autonomous and innovative work force in a culture both hierarchical and consensus driven”, asked Aya Shimada the founder of Culturelabs, who led discussions into topics including why is Japan behind in data driven change, leveraging data solutions to resist relying on uniformity, tapping into underutilized diversity, and reaching out beyond the status quo, silos while reorganizing top-down legacy structures.
Attendees from diverse backgrounds and businesses sat down to brainstorm answers to questions such a how to find new revenue models and career opportunities in these difficult times. They looked into which jobs will not survive and what to do with Japan’s continued belief in life-long employment. They also looked in how to manage a growing need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, among other pressing questions.
Some of the solutions brought up included empowering middle managers for change while others saw the opposite point of view of questioning the very need for middle managers in the future or by-passing them
altogether. One person talked about the need to go beyond the traditional but the well tested kaizen methods of improvement to embracing destructive innovation.
Digitalization, or DX as it is called here, was especially high up in people’s minds throughout the night. However not in the form of the simple siloed automation that is most common in Japan.
The conversations were noticeably tinged with a sense of urgency thanks to a report by the World Economic Forum that predicted a global loss of 85 billion old and legacy jobs along with the creation of 97 billion new data-driven and creative jobs in 2025 due to the rise of artificial intelligence alone.
There was also some talk of hope over the 1 trillion budget in Japan earmarked to reskilling the workforce in growth sectors. This measure, announced by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida earlier in October, is expected to especially target the digital transformation sector.
After two passion-filled brainstorming sessions, the group relocated for more discussions amongst themselves and networking.
“My aim is to create a community of like-minded people who can continue discussing ideas for transformation,” said Shimada before the conclusion of what many attendants referred
to as a successful evening.