Regaining Competitiveness…via CNS


Today in our class of Competitiveness, we used the case study of Car Navigation Systems(CNS).  This is the industry which Japanese manufacturers dominated since its introduction in the 1980s and throughout the 1990s.  We analyzed the reasons behind Japan’s dominance using the Diamond Model.  We also discussed the role of the government in setting up the infrastructure and stimulating the demand in the early phase of the industry growth.   The case (which I am one of the co-authors) ended at the end of 2004, with some signs showing that Japanese dominance is in question.

It is now well known that the navigation today has taken various forms such as portables, handy GPS types, smart phone etc. etc. in addition to the fully equipped sophisticated (and expensive) type then popular in Japan)

Reading the case made me think how we can regain competitiveness once we lose it.  It is one thing to improve competitiveness from almost scratch, but it is another to re-build it once you lose it.  It almost looks bigger challenge to regain competitiveness as we tend to have nostalgia toward “good old days”.  It is so easy to live in the “past” with “illusion of success.”   Why is it so hard to dedicate ourselves to take up a new challenge?  Success is the biggest trap (I do not recall now the expression used in English), as we forget to make efforts to innovate.  Only the paranoid survive, as Andy Grove once said.

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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