U.S. Space Shuttle Project: Atlantis Launch

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Friday, July 8, 2011 marked the end of  the US Space Shuttle Mission. The U.S. Space Shuttle project has a long history over 40 years since the  seminal declaration to send the man to the moon within the decade,  made by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.  I personally have been intrigued by the Space Shuttle program, as one of my childhood dreams was to become an astronaut, well reflected with my visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with friends.  I am privileged to meet with  and work with Mamoru Mohri, now president of the Miraikan, one of the Japanese  astronauts. I also recall many lives lost during the program including those who were on board Challenger.

The end of the U.S. Space Shuttle Mission makes me reflect how daring the original vision by JFK was, how much effort must have been made to make the vision realized by many people and with many dollars, and how much of discoveries and innovation must have been made through the program.  I am sure that those closely involved with the project must feel that one era is over.

As in many memorable events like this one, special programs have been planned and many people are in Florida, waiting for the launch.  In fact, I wish I were there to watch!  I watch with great interest the interview with John Glenn, the first astronaut and the ex-Senator, among others.

As I reflect the history of Space Shuttle program, I cannot but help thinking  how different our world is in 2011, in terms of technology and geopolitical scene, just to name a few.  It makes me wonder how we deal with the fundamental changes and transformations taking place in the world.  Constant challenge to explore the unknown is a spirit we should all keep.

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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