Becoming a creative hybrid – Tokyo memoirs chapter 2: 2005~2006

The second post in my "becoming a creative hybrid memoirs" series, describing my experiences growing a hybrid creative company in Tokyo which I co-founded in 2004. This chapter covers roughly the 2nd and 3rd years of Alien-Eye, during which we struck upon a winning formula for creating viral video contents in Japan, and came of age as "growth hackers", the more recent term for marketers that focus on high impact low budget growth tactics on digital. This period also includes the emergence of Mixi as a cultural force in Japan, which we embraced as the first open social platform for sharing content and which marked the paradigm shift from "viral" to "social". The first episode of my "becoming a creative hybrid can be read here! ************************* Tokyo memoirs chapter 2: Creative … [Read more...]

Renault-Nissan Alliance is the pathfinder corporate hybrid and can overtake Toyota

I predict that by 2020 the Renault-Nissan Alliance will have replaced Toyota as the #1 car maker. Already 8.1m units annually, or 1 in 10 cars sold globally come from the group, which was established in 1999 through an unprecedented cross-shareholding agreement, that left both sides of the alliance incentivised to help the other succeed, without the respective corporate and brand identities being consumed by the other. A key factor in the success of the group over the last decade has been the creation of successful hybrids of the two company's strengths, where strengths are shared and weaknesses mitigated both ways. For instance, operationally the "Nissan Production Way" was adopted by Renault's manufacturing facilities, leading to productivity gains of 15% on the French manufacturer's … [Read more...]

Becoming a creative hybrid – Tokyo memoirs chapter 1: 2004~2005

The first in a series of posts describing my experiences running hybrid creative businesses in Japan. I spent my first two years in Japan working in Ogilvy, an international advertising agency, as part of the WPP Marketing Fellowship Program, a 3 year program sponsored by Ogilvy's parent company and global marcomms goliath WPP Ltd. I spent my first year in Ogilvy London, and then persuaded my mentor on the program to let me transfer to Tokyo. Half way through my second year in Japan I had decided to set up my own company when my 3 years ran up. That company was Alien-Eye, founded in October 2004. There were 3 main reasons I needed to get out and do my own thing, despite all the smart people I got to work with: i) I did not feel I was getting enough exposure to Japanese language and … [Read more...]

Brasil x Japan: the ideal hybrid?

Although the stereotypes associated with Japanese and Brazilians are poles apart, the two countries in fact share a special relationship based on the very human ties of historical emigration. Now they are starting to explore the potential of combining the mutual strengths of both nations in the future. Japan's is arguably the most "progressed"  society on the planet, demographically more mature than any other, and one of the most advanced in terms of technology, infrastructure, healthcare provision and with a massive, capital intensive economy. In contrast Brasil (spelt the Portuguese on purpose!) has a young demographic, labour-intensive economy destined to grow into a superpower, but lacks many of the technological and infrastructural know-how that Japan has at its fingertips. … [Read more...]

Hybrids rule in Japan, and are taking over the world

The words hybrid and hybridisation first became used commonly in 19th century in the context of rearing domesticated animals and plants. A mule for instance is a cross between a horse and a donkey. Rose gardeners created hybrid roses to achieve original colour combinations. These days hybrid technologies are equally if not more common. Among these hybrid cars are the most famous, a technology popularised largely due to the efforts of the Japanese car industry, not least the little known parts supplier Aisin Seiki Co. which invented the Hybrid Synergy Drive that made the Prius an international hit. Hybrid cars represent the classic hybrid concept: take two complementary species or systems, combine them to create a new species or solution that comprise the advantages of both … [Read more...]

The explosion of hybrid humans, and what it means for us

I recently discovered this little gem of a video describing Japan's trend towards greater ethnic diversity. It is interesting to note the not inconsiderable numbers of immigrants living in Japan, around 2.3m out of a population of 127m as of 2010, the vast majority of which are Asian. Taking the UK as a yardstick, like Japan an island nation that was never colonised by immigrants in the way that say North America was, at least since prehistorical times, but which started its journey of multi-culturalization a good century or two before Japan did, in its 2001 census 85% of the population described themselves as "white british". So Japan still has a long way to go, but it is on its way. All immigrants contribute to the cultural diversity of a country, but not necessarily to the … [Read more...]

A blog about nurturing hybrid culture

Image: A broccoli x cauliflower hybrid sold in Japan  Welcome to my new blog! Why now? I have been writing pretty regularly over the years, some of which has been going up on line, but most of it never gets out of my Evernotes. I have been feeling a mounting inner pressure recently to get more of it out in the open to start some dialogues and share ideas with others. One excuse I was using to not get a blog going with regular updates was the fact someone else owned, so once I got hold of this domain I had no excuse to not get it together. I have also been piecing together the knowledge required to set up and run a blog like this one from scratch so I can be totally self sufficient. I have been frustrated by not being in control of my own publishing before and so … [Read more...]