Atlantis’ Shuttle Comes Home After 3 Years In Space

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Space Shuttle Atlantis landed in Florida on July 21, marking the last flight of the Space Shuttle program in the U.S.  I was in British Columbia when it was launched and thus watched/heard many specials around the topic of Space Shuttle program.  Several people who were directly involved with the program said, answering the questions regarding the Space program itself,  that the first task and priority is to land Atlantis safely after 13-day flight.  They would make comment on the future of the Space program and reflect the past history etc.after the safe landing, which I found quite interesting.  I felt that the Space shuttle program is so complicated that anything could go wrong at any minute, requiring the total concentration and the dedication on the part of those involved.  I found it understandable that those directly involved did NOT want to discuss other things before the Atlantis completed its last flight.

As the Space Shuttle Program comes to an end, many scientists, engineers and technicians who had worked on the program would lose the  job.  I heard in one of the programs with the people who are in that situation made a comment that he would like to go to Afghanistan.  He said that his expertise is in the area of defense and combat, there is a need for his skill and experience in the area.  I thought the willingness to go to any place where you can find the job and where your expertise is appreciated is quite remarkable.  It is the era of talent and skills mobility and we can explore opportunities anywhere in the world to match our skills and expertise.

In fact, I have been discussing the possibility of starting business to recruit and match those Japanese in 50s, 60s? with extensive experience of production engineering etc. to the companies/jobs in many emerging economies.  Their experience may not be needed in Japan, but they will be of value in the emerging economies, in particular, in the form of training the young workers and engineers.  I am looking for some young entrepreneurs in the emerging economies (or anywhere for that matter) who would give a try.

Yoko Ishikura
Yoko Ishikura is a Professor at Hitotsubashi University ICS in the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy in Japan. She has held positions as a professor at the School of International Politics, Economics and Business of Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, as a consultant at McKinsey and Company Inc. Japan and a visiting professor at Darden School.

Professor Ishikura is a consultant to a number of multinational companies and has been a frequent speaker at management conferences, seminars, and workshops throughout the world. She was a member of the Regulatory Reform Committee for the Japanese government and the International Competitiveness Commission for METI. She is currently a Forum Fellow of the World Economic Forum.

She is the author of Strategic Shift from OR choices to AND paradigm, Building Core Skills of Organization , and the co-author of the following publications: Managing Diversity in the 21st Century, Strategy for Cluster Initiatives in Japan , and Building a Career to the World Class Professionals – all in Japanese. Her books in English include: Asian Advantage, Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management and Trust and Antitrust in Asian Business Alliances.

Professor Ishikura’s current research interests are focused on global competition, innovation, and knowledge management. She received her BA from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan; MBA from Darden School, University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia; and DBA from Harvard Business School.
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