Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Two Business Seminars!

I'm really really believing that the old adage "it never rains but pours" is true. One week, I'm having a nice, quiet, completely un-blog worthy life, and the next, I get a new phone, go for a few seminars and have family coming to visit.

So, by my count, I want to share about switching phone (and telcos), the business seminars that I've been too, and when my cousin comes, my trip with her.

And since I just came back from the second seminar that I've been to this week, I think this post should be about the seminars.

Basically, Kyudai offered us students a chance to go to this seminar held by Nishi Nippon City Bank in honour of Kyudai's 100 year anniversary. I've had a few teachers tell me about it, and since two of the moderators were teachers that had taught/are teaching me, I thought it would be interesting to go. The topics are: the future of the ASEAN Economic Community, East Asian economics and expansion of Kyushu companies and Innovation and environmental concerns.

The seminar was held at New Otani hotel, and it was way more posh than I  expected.

Or maybe it's just the decorations
And I have no idea if that's normal, but they had glasses of ice-water and print outs at each seat.

My seat says I'm related to Kyushu University :D 
All three sessions were supposed to be a panel discussion, with each professor/invited guest giving a short presentation about the topic first. Weirdly, they were collecting questions for the panel to answer before the presentations. So obviously, I had no questions to raise.

But, since many of the guests were teachers, and they had powerpoint slides, they all went beyond the time limit (even most of them ended up finishing their presentation before its intended ending, or skipping a bunch of slides). Still, it was interesting to get three mini lectures in a row, before the moderator starts to read out questions/gives his own questions because no one had anything to say.

Now, let's skip back to Monday. I was given a ticket to attend a seminar in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the SMEs in Fukuoka (福岡県中小企業経営者協会連合会). I had lessons before that, and then I went to meet Ms. Makino, but I managed to make it for the second talk, and the panel discussion.
The hall wasn't as fancy (it was opposite Hotel New Otani), but I think
there were more people. 
The second talk (first for me) was really interesting. The speaker was talking about 三方良し (sanpouyoshi). Sanpouyoshi is a traditional Japanese concept meaning that a business must benefit all three sides - the seller, buyer and society. According to Mr. Yunus Mohammad, this is why Japan had the original concept of "social business".

Anyway, the focus of the talk was that the focus on pleasing the shareholders leads to unsustainable business practices. Instead, (Japanese) businesses should focus on giving value to the customer (and society), and when they do that, the profits will come.

One example he gave was of a laundry service that is willing to pick up and deliver laundry outside of normal working hours (like say, 11pm). This is very useful to workers living alone, and by helping that niche, the business earns loyal customers. Or (and this made a bigger impact on me), an electrical shop that delivers a 100 yen lightbulb to an elderly customer and helps him/her install it for free. It might not make financial sense now, but as the word spreads and more of the elderly visit the store, some of them will want to buy fridges or televisions, and the store they're going to buy from will be the store that delivered and installed a 100 yen lightbulb for free.

After that was the panel discussion. I showed the list of panelists to Ms. Makino before I left, and apparently, two out of the three are really famous. One is a designer, one is the founder of a very large real-estate company, and the third is the guy that directed Japan's 2020 Olympic campaign video.

Presentation by the designer lady. 
And, those on Google+ already know, but I forgot-then-remembered-in-time that I was supposed to teach after the seminar! My heels were killing me, but I managed to make it there. Then take the train and walk very very slowly home.

I'm tired and there's no way I can hide that.
(By the way, the blue sticker indicates the ticket I was given. It was blue!
There was another, red, ticket)
Both seminars were really interesting, but I think I enjoyed Monday's one more. It wasn't as fancy, but the contents really caught my attention and wormed into my brain.