Creativity and Innovation Management in Japan

Topics: Case study, Intern, Management Pages: 9 (2258 words) Published: October 15, 2013

Creativity and Innovation Management Case Study on T-Automobile’s Innovation Management Program: Creativity Development and Methodology

Cristian Vlad
GLOBIS University (Senior Researcher)

Nobumichi Watahiki, Ph.D.
Nagaoka University of Technology (Associate Professor)


  大学生の企業でのインターンシップに関する研究は、学生への教育目的を中心としている。企業の立場からにすると、一般に、「採用手段の一つとして」「優秀な人材とのネットワーク作り」 「学生に向けての企業PR 等が言われるが、インターンシップに限らず大学と企業の間には互恵的関係がなければ続かないにもかかわらず、学生を受け入れる側の企業の効果については議論されることがない。 本論文では、T社における外国の大学生を対象したインターンシッププログラムをケーススタディーとして取り上げる。学生は多くの部署を体験し、専門性からやや離れ企業全体のマネジメントを学び、学生の行き来や報告をまめに行うことでT社はセクショナリズムが起きがちな部署間のコミュニケーションを円滑にすることができた。インターンシップを受け入れていない企業や今後受け入れ先を開拓していく大学が交渉の材料として、この報告は有用であると考える。

1. Introduction
From Johannesburg to New York, the world round, major corporate enterprises embrace and make the most out of various internship programs, encouraging the young generation to be creative and explore opportunities of bringing new and innovative ideas into stagnating projects and working environments going stale. The World Bank, Coca Cola, Saatchi & Saatchi, BMW, Philipe Stark, The Zaha Hadid Associates, Cirque de Soleil, Virgin Galactic and the Guggenheim Museum are just a few examples of prominent organizations employing intern students worldwide and making the most of their input.

How about the world’ third largest economy, Japan? Although the internship program is not a new idea to this country, successful practices are still few and far between. Major manufacturers and global brands of Japanese origin, such as SONY, Panasonic, Fuji Xerox, Seiko, etc. have all tried various versions of internship, project often encouraged by the government and commercial promoters (JETRO, etc.), but they all seem to be short of tangible results and Japanese associates often point out to the challenges of creating an “international” working environment in order to accommodate intern students coming from overseas. The “lack of understanding” of Japanese business circumstances, the limited insight into Japanese culture and traditional operations, as well as the lack of commitment to working long hours from the international students’ side have been the typical reasons given by Japanese organizations for not being able to employ and make the most out of an international internship program.

This is an example of how T-Automobile, one of Japan’s leading car manufacturers, has taken one of the most adventurous approaches to on-boarding international students on a six-month internship program within its advanced product development projects, and further on to cutting-edge marketing and global HR practices.


There is little discussion about whether corporate enterprises need or not to take student interns on board – be it an undergraduate or graduate program, academic organizations are coming closer to the real business life by bridging connections between various business organizations and the students enrolled in their programs.

Research on student internship programs within corporate enterprises around the world has mainly centered on the students’ training benefit (e.g. Kusoku, 2006).

In general, internship programs have been regarded as an “employment strategy”, opportunities for “constructing human networks”, “student-geared PR”, while enterprises often seek “reciprocal benefit”. With a new and different approach to understanding how well-managed internship programs can be of considerable advantage to both the enterprise and the students on board, this paper will provide the reader with valuable insight from various perspectives and will mainly benefit organizations which have not yet started an internship program. This study focuses on the case of T-Automobile, a world famous automotive manufacturer from Japan.

The multinational creativity internship program is a breakthrough initiative for a Japanese enterprise to introduce and utilize a...

References: Berliant, Marcus and Fujita Masahisa(2011) “Culture and Diversity in Knowledge Creation” RIETI Discussion Paper Series 11-E-046
Kusoku, Shigenori (2006) : A Study of Effects of Internship on College Students with a Focus on Self-Efficacy Theory:A Survey for Internship Students for New Business Ventures., The Ritumeikan Business Review.,  pp.169―185, Vol..XLIV Jan.2006 No.5
Yin ,Robert ( 2008) Case Study Research: Design and Methods., Sage Publications
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