Getting ready to speak at The Economist Fifth Japan CFO Roundtable on “The Road Forward for Japanese Companies” – Four Seasons Hotel – Chinzanso, Tokyo.
Update: I spent about 10 minutes speaking about how Japanese corporations should approach innovation, entrepreneurship and going global. The speech went by very quickly, but since I did it in English, I believe I did a better job than my recent TED experience. After the presentation, it switched to a moderated session where we had a pretty good Q&A session.
Unfortunately, due to jet lagg or something, I ended up giving a long winded non-answer to the last moderated question which was along the lines of “Many Japanese say basic innovation and research should be the responsibility of large companies and government. What would be your response to that.” I should have said that “Yes, things like the Internet, only governments can really initiate. However, things like Facebook (Mixi here), Twitter, Amazon (Rakuten) or eBay would not have been possible by either large companies or governments.”
I forgot what answer I actually gave….
Special Advisor at Cabinet Office (Govt. of Japan)
Named by Nikkei as one of the “100 Most Influential People for Japan,” Saito began software programming at an early age and started his own company in high school. By the time he was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998 (by Ernst & Young, NASDAQ and USA Today), he was recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on encryption
, biometric authentication
and cyber security
After selling his business to Microsoft, he moved to Tokyo in 2005 and founded InTecur, a venture capital firm and consultancy that identifies innovative technologies, develops global talent and helps entrepreneurs become successful. In 2013, Saito was appointed a Special Advisor to the Cabinet Office for the Government of Japan.
Similarly, in 2012 he served as a council member on national strategy for the Cabinet-level National Policy Unit, and prior to that, was named as the Chief Technology Officer for the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC). He is a Foundation Board Member at the World Economic Forum (WEF), and has been named by the WEF as both a Young Global Leader and Global Agenda Council member.
Saito also advises several national governments around the globe. In Japan, he has also served as an advisor to METI, MIC, MEXT, MLIT, AIST, IPA and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), among others.
He teaches at multiple universities, serves on several corporate boards, appears as a commentator on national TV and is the author of numerous publications in addition to writing a weekly column for a prominent Japanese business newspaper. His best-selling management book, The Team: Solving the Biggest Problem in Japan, was published by Nikkei BP in 2012, his follow-on book, Is Your Thinking up to Global Standards?, was published by Daiwa Shobo in late 2013 and his autobiography, An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur, was published in 2011 by John Wiley & Sons.