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"Leadership in Turbulent Times" Webinar Series

#MBA #Business School #Webinar #Live Virtual

#15 "covid19 and Strategy Change"
Friday, July 17, 12:00 p.m.! Now accepting applications!

Professor Hiroko Haga of Tohoku University will explain what the world will be like after the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and the irreversible changes in the way we work in the future. Please feel free to join us from your home or office.

Seminar Contents
Theme: "Covid-19 and Strategy Change"
Speaker: Professor Yuko Haga
Time slot: 12:00-13:00
Outline: We will discuss companies that have changed their strategy due to Covid-19, and whether Covid-19 is really the reason, or if it is just a last minute action that should have been taken earlier.

Webinar Registration    

The NUCB Business School, without giving in to the current pandemic, held an webinar on "Leading in Turbulent Times" as a safe, secure, and re-learning opportunity for everyone with the guiding principle of never stopping education.

#14 "International Order Shaken by Corona"

The 14th online seminar was held by Dr. Masaki Mizobuchi, a specialist in geopolitics, on the theme of "International Order Shaken by Corona. First, he reviewed the cases of trends in geopolitics since the freezing of the Cold War, going back to before the onset of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19). The most notable trend is the "liberal international order."

The liberal international order, led by the United States, is thought to have ensured peace based on four pillars (economic, social, political, and institutional). However, with the spread of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) throughout the United States, effective countermeasures have not been taken and the leadership of the United States is declining. In such a situation, the U.S. taking critical actions against China will be detrimental to free trade, and each country will need to create its own supply chain.

This worsening relationship between the U.S. and China will spread to other countries and will have a major impact on the Middle East region, where Dr. Mizobuchi is more specialized. Particularly in regions such as Iran, it is difficult for the government to keep track of the global situation because it is difficult to grasp the entire situation of the new coronavirus infection. In the future, it will be necessary to pay more attention to the economic situation of the world as a whole, depending on the status of the corona infection.

#13 "Basic Income After Corona"

A seminar was held on the theme of "Basic Income" which is now attracting attention. What do you think about "Basic Income", which guarantees a minimum standard of living for all citizens, and the current uniform benefit of 100,000 yen for all citizens due to the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19)?

The basic idea of "basic income" is to protect people's livelihood in a society with income disparity. The current social insurance system was born from Bismarck's idea and is centered on large corporations. 13% of the people who need welfare cannot be saved by the current social insurance system. However, there have not been many successful cases of basic income, because there are many objections such as "will it discourage people from working" or "will it increase the number of minimalists by reducing wasteful consumption".

However, Dr. Harada believes that the implementation of basic income under the government's guarantee will bring peace of mind to people in their daily lives and increase the number of people who spend money instead of saving it, which will turn the economy around. I hope this lecture has given you an opportunity to think about the difficult balance between compensation and income in "basic income."

#12 "Rescue Japan - Transformation of Japan"

Nearly 200 people applied for this webinar, and many graduates of the NUCB Business School also participated. The theme of the seminar was "Rescue Japan," and the participants discussed issues specific to Japan, and the content seemed to be condensed within the limited time of one hour.

In addition to the effects of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19), have you ever felt that Japan's unique culture and common sense are hindering the economy? Some of the comments from the participants were: "I feel that the concept of equality is too much for a capitalist society," "Companies are not allowed to hire new employees (large companies tend to be protected)," "Japanese culture (such as inkan) tends to be protected, making it difficult for new businesses to enter the market," "IT is not used properly," "The consequences from one failure are too severe," and "There is a tendency to be complacent with the status quo."

There were many people who shared these feelings. These characteristics unique to Japan can be a strength when the economy is on an upward trend, but they can become a problem when it is on a downward trend. In order to break through the problems unique to the Japanese, we need to think about having a sense of belonging to society and seeing it as our own problem and how to survive on the premise of disparity. By changing the awareness of each of the participants, it will be reflected in the organization and become a major force. It was a good opportunity for participants to think about how to develop human resources for the young people who will lead the next generation.

#11 "Leadership in Crisis" What do leaders need to be thinking about now in Corona?

Now that the impact of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) has been mitigated, how have the leaders of your companies been doing? Today, we went back a bit and looked at "crisis leadership" from the time of the first COVID-19 cases in China in December 2019 to today. What are your thoughts on after-coronary measures, and how do you think we should continue to deal with COVID-19? There is a need for workers to think about how to work with minorities in accordance with COVID-19, as well as the survival of the company. The biggest change will be the availability of virtual courses, and the NUCB Business School will be offering all virtual courses in the Spring 2020 semester. Professor Ito said that he wants leaders to be "Future Oriented" and always think in the future, and also to become leaders who can create new ways of working.

#10 Does Corona Provide Us with Innovation Opportunities?

This time, Professor Yasutomi Kitahara, who specializes in innovation and design thinking, led a session on finding the opportunity to innovate in the age of the coronavirus. He talked about the concept of design thinking for innovation, which starts with catching hidden customer needs and finding insights. The concept of Design Thinking was conceived by IDEO, a design consulting company in Silicon Valley, USA, and IDEO has many successful examples proving that empathy is necessary to find out customers' needs.

By doing the same hard work as the target customers, and to have customers use the products actually developed, hit products can be created.  Dr. Kitahara himself has a successful track record of turning a crisis into an opportunity: he developed a mask strap with graduates of our school in the wake of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19), and it went on sale within a month of its conception. In order to innovate with the participants, we came up with new products and services from the list by daring to come up with a "But List". The first step to innovation is to think positively, with the idea that dissatisfaction with the status quo can lead to innovation.

#9 Will the new coronavirus worsen international relation?

This week, Dr. Sekine, who specializes in political science, continued his discussion from last week focusing on the international relations between China and Japan, the U.S. and China, and the relationship with WHO, pointing out the necessity of coordinating international relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as with other countries.

First, in the event of a pandemic such as the recent one, WHO is the organization that can declare a state of emergency and regulate borders on a country-by-country basis. The second is to provide medical care to emerging countries. In particular, Dr. Sekine said that in the case of an explosive and highly infectious pandemic epidemic such as the recent one, it is necessary for WHO to take the lead in global crisis management. However, it is difficult and burdensome for WHO to take on the entire responsibility, so he suggested the need for a new organization to manage it in the future. In particular, the participants who are businesspeople and those who are involved in politics need to strengthen the system to be able to grasp the concept of health on a global scale and take immediate action.

#8 Political Decisions in Emergencies

The webinar by Dr. Takashi Kitamura, who specializes in political science and comparative constitutional policy and institutions, focused more on the "P (Politics)" of PEST analysis, which was also discussed in Dr. Koyama's seminar held a week ago. While PEST analysis is often used in various subjects in MBA studies, the opportunity to learn "P (Politics)" in business administration tends to be neglected. However, economics can greatly affect and change political decisions. Especially in the case of a pandemic like the current one, the impact of political decisions is enormous.

This time, the topic of discussion is the "self-restraint request" issued by the government. I'm sure you have heard this phrase most often. All the participants answered that their businesses were affected by this request to a greater or lesser extent. If the government is going to issue a request for self-restraint, the most common opinion was that the request for self-restraint should be combined with social security.

In the past, political decisions and business decisions were often viewed as two separate things, but in recent years, there has been a growing tendency to incorporate public management, which is a way of making business decisions in the private sector. It is precisely because Professor Kitamura specializes in political science that he was able to think about the future of the economy from both sides.

#7 Scenario Planning After Corona

The faculty member in charge of this webinar was Dr. Ryusuke Koyama, who was speaking for the second time. Last time (April 17), he talked about "Remote Work after Corona," and this time he talked about "Scenario Planning after Corona." Due to the impact of the current pandemic, the participants started discussing the question, "What will the Japanese economy look like in 20 years?"

In order to plan a scenario for the future, it is necessary to know what the future holds. In order to plan for the future, what kind of future values should we know? We can use PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological) to find out the future values. For example, we can look at the initiatives and reforms of Japanese companies, and the economic conditions under which stock prices fluctuated in the past. We also thought about scenarios in terms of "origins and consequences". In particular, in the case of a pandemic, it is difficult to determine whether regulations will be strengthened or deregulated, such as whether people will be able to move freely as before, or whether people will no longer be able to move freely.

In the first case, if regulations are tightened, domestic products will become more costly due to business activities in local areas, and inflation will increase. In the second part, domestic demand will become polarized. Therefore, in the "transition" phase, it will be necessary to add high value to high-cost products. Based on the above, you may have made some changes in your future scenario planning before and after participating in this webinar.

#6 Those who can turn crisis into crisis, and those who can turn crisis into opportunity. Which are you?

This seminar was given by Dr. Seiichiro Iwasawa, who specializes in behavioral economics. The stock market crash of 2020 caused by the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) may have caused many people to spend their days in anxiety. Dr. Iwasawa used two cases to discuss how to turn this crisis into an opportunity instead of seeing it as a crisis; the first was a logical reading of financial information, his specialty, with examples of people who turned the current stock market crash into an opportunity by buying stocks at the bottom.

The second was the example of high school ballplayers going into a game. In addition to thinking logically, he argued that it is also necessary to have a strong will and to always remain calm in order to avoid a crisis. The one-hour seminar ended with valuable content thanks to Dr. Iwasawa's perfect time management.

#5 Management in Uncertain Situations - Exploring Hints from Case Studies

For #5, we had Prof. Shigetsune Yamoto, who teaches courses in Technology Management and Innovation Management at our university. Dr. Yamoto discussed with the participants how to proceed as a business leader in the current uncertain situation where business cannot be carried out as planned due to restraint and stagnation caused by the spread of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19). We discussed how to proceed as business leaders in this uncertain environment.

In order to turn an uncertain situation into a certainty, there are many ways to solve the problem logically by using many papers and frameworks in the real world, which are also used in MBA classes. However, most of the successful businesses that have been able to capture the changes in the environment also need to be able to start with a hypothesis and change the strategy despite the uncertain situation.

He advocated that even if you are not in a crisis like the current situation, it is necessary for leaders to always accurately catch what is happening at each site and what the customer needs are, and to think about new business initiatives with intuition and enthusiasm. The webinar had many questions for the participants, which not only broadened their knowledge, but also made them think about the changes in their own industries.

#4 Corona's Risk Scenarios: Crude Oil, Emerging Market Currency Crashes... What's Next and How to Prepare

The theme of our 4th webinar was risk management, a specialty of Dr. Otsuki. As of Friday, May 1st, Wuhan City in China announced that the corona was under control, indicating that the market was recovering from corona. On the economic front, many participants thought that the opportunity would come from the G20's 5 trillion yen injection into the global economy and the Abe administration's 108 trillion yen economic stimulus package as a result of the emergency declaration.

It is important for the leaders of the organization to have a sense of crisis and to take countermeasures ahead of time. As a risk management expert, Dr. Otsuki said that the buds of the spread of the novel coronavirus infection have been seen since December 2019, and that leaders should be sensitive to the spread of the infections. On the financial front, China is considering issuing digital Renminbi (RMB), and the country's moves are attracting international attention.

#3, Pricing Strategies in a Crisis

In webinar #3, we focused on the restaurant and delivery service industry, which has been remarkably affected by the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19), and among them, Uber Eats, which is becoming a mainstream service especially among young people, and considered its pricing strategy. The discussion theme was "If you want to lower the price, is it the delivery fee or the commission?" Some of the participants were restaurateurs, so opinions were gathered from the standpoints of both users and producers.

The main point of this discussion was how pricing should be done for platform businesses. Dr. Tamura explained the importance of a framework, citing the pricing strategy of Playstation in the video game industry as an example. What kind of interaction exists between users and companies? Which one is more sensitive to price? Use this framework and think logically, but also consider special situations like this one.

Dr. Tamura emphasized that this is necessary to make better decisions in a crisis situation.  The webinar was a valuable opportunity for the participants to learn universal ways of thinking that are useful in all industries.

#2 Remote Work After Corona

The second webinar was held on the theme of remote work, which many companies are adopting due to the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19). Nearly 70% of the participants were telecommuting and attended this seminar from home. Dr. Koyama, who was in charge of the seminar, showed how important it is to take a positive view of the current situation and tackle remote work with concrete examples.

In addition to the introduction of office furniture and systems, he gave examples of how to separate private life from work and work more efficiently. Lastly, while there are advantages and disadvantages to remote work, Dr. Koyama said that he would like to see this opportunity as a chance for each individual to have a new work style and lifestyle, which will lead to business innovation in the future.

#1 Virtual Classroom Practice

At the webinar, Prof. Takeuchi explained that while many higher education institutions are preparing to introduce distance learning, it is necessary for instructors to make sure that participants do not feel lonely or left behind when teaching virtually using the Harvard Business School case method. He also said that the accuracy of the class depends on how to use the limited system and functions in the same way as one's own regular lectures.

However, the class is not only created by the instructor, but also by the participants themselves, who can create the overall atmosphere of the class by over-reacting more than in a live class. In order to increase the safety of not only the participants but also the faculty and staff due to the declaration of an emergency situation, our school will continue to provide a continuation of learning.