- What are you focusing on during your fellowship period?
I am looking at the collective impacts of methodologies and leadership on society. The field of social entrepreneurship and social innovation has often focused on the application of business school-oriented management methods and concepts to the social sector; but it has become increasingly important to expand the scope beyond logic to investigate how we can access people’s emotions, sensations and their unconscious behavioral patterns so that individuals can create social and community changes independently. We are going through a transition that is taking us away from delegating change to great leaders and toward maximizing our individual potential to bring that change about.
- Could you explain briefly what exactly you have been doing during the International Fellowship period?
In my first year, I was at Stanford University interacting with researchers and strategists in the areas of technology and design who are working to expand the frontier of global innovations. During this period, I also studied the utilization of social innovation through an encounter with an area called “mindfulness,” which focuses on comprehensive human consciousness and unconsciousness, and their transformations. This approach has become a quiet yet steady trend not just at Stanford University but with companies and business people in Silicon Valley.
In my second year, I have been studying at The Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University, where I explore this field further. I have been researching and practicing self-management, including mindfulness, jointly with Prof. Jeremy Hunter who is my advisor professor and an authority in this area.
- Please give your feedback on the International Fellowship Program.
I am extremely grateful for the two life-changing years that the Fellowship has given me. It has been a great opportunity to work on underlying awareness from a wider perspective, a perspective that leads to answers rather than focusing on what’s before you, in an area that is about to unfold both domestically and globally. There is a sense of freedom that comes with the need to rely on yourself to work your way through and build relationships locally. I feel I have gained abilities that will help me to survive in the international arena. I am also very excited about possibilities for cooperation with the various resources, networks and staff of the Nippon Foundation.
- How do you want to build on your studies in the US after returning to Japan?
This is a period in which we need transformations at a deeper systematic level. It’s about how individuals, groups, organizations and society can achieve behavioral transformations and decision-making in a positive way beyond the unconscious patterns we have long followed. We see a number of Buddhist and other Eastern factors at play in the research on mindfulness and self-management. After returning to Japan, I would like to combine my specialty in social entrepreneurship, social innovation and other management aspects with research and practice involving collective leadership and management designed to achieve new ways of changing things. In this sense, I think that values and approaches of Japan and other Asian countries have something important to offer to the world.