Message from the Chair

“Aspiring to create
the 22nd century’s business leadership
education model.”

Tomoyoshi Noda, Chairman of Board of Trustees

The current mass production and mass consumption model exists on the premise of a perpetually functioning economy, supported by the financial and government organizational and institutional structures that have been created over the past century. Specialists and middle managers sustain this structure through expert knowledge as well as a carrot-and-stick approach to management methods. Changes in business practices, the economy at large, and across society in the 21st century have however, disrupted the foundations of this 20th-century business model.

The United Nations SDGs and ESG investment, which are becoming more frequent, and represented, espouse the shared concerns about the social and environmental sustainability of rising economic growth. As an alternative to the mass production and mass consumption model, distributed manufacturing, low volume manufacturing, and customization symbolized by the FabLab (fabrication laboratory) society appear to satisfy some of the diverse and individualized consumer needs and desires characterizing a mature socio-economic system.

The rapid development of social networks and the sharing economy has led to the transformation of the hierarchical structure, with its organizational framework of vertical relationships turning into a network-type organization emphasizing the personal horizontal connections across the boundaries of departments and organizations.

Amid these changes, there is a prominent shift in the perception of the capabilities of corporate leadership abilities. Rather than managing by carrot-and-stick, what could be required, by the core talents of any organization, is the ability to influence people through emotional persuasion, empathy, and trust. This without relying on title or seniority of position. Furthermore, science and technology such as AI, robotics, IoT, blockchain, and life science, as well as innovations brought about by these technologies have drastically impacted our lives. From the pursuing of economies of scale which monopolize knowledge, resources, and the market, the source of value creation has shifted towards creativity and the development of new knowledge, as well as to the entrepreneurial spirit that is willing to take risk and thus can create a new paradigm

With that in mind, as the MBA education paradigm of the traditional business school becomes more dated and loses some of its effectiveness during the transformation of the economy and society in the 21st century, Shizenkan is tackling the challenge and attempting to show the world what leadership education for the 22nd century should look like.

Message from the President

“Fusing Western knowledge
and Asian wisdom
to open a new horizon in
leadership education.”

Monte Cassim, President

Our socio-economic system of sovereign states, political democracy and capitalism, which originated in Western civilization is enveloped by the social concerns surrounding widening economic disparities and the degradation of local communities, possibly due to globalization. At the same time, we are possibly at a major turning point in history, when the pendulum sways from western dominance over the world, that has been continuous since the bourgeois and the industrial revolutions, to a more Asia-centered world. With the rapid rise of Asia during the 21st century, especially the reconstruction of Japan and the economic development of South Korea, China and India, three of the world's dynamic economies.

All the astonishing innovations made available to us by the advances in science and technology, have truly reformed our lives. Yet at the same time these developments bring the concerns that humans will become just replaceable parts of a system. We seek to find alternative solutions to these predicaments.

What are the individual skills required from people in the future? Simply having high aspirations, or being an ethical actor as well as socially conscious leader? These are among the requirements, I believe, but are they enough? Perhaps a feeling of responsibility not only for oneself, or one’s business or company, but for society at large is a prerequisite? A social leader responsible for the next generation is required to answer these questions, as well as co-existing, symbiotically with the social environment and nature, these are the philosophies that were traditionally cultivated in Asia.

As a graduate school based in Japan, Shizenkan breaks away from the traditional business education model that has implicitly assumed only American values; it bridges the gap between the rationality of the West and the spiritual ethos of Asia and explores the next form of leadership required in the 22nd century.

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