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Mr. Takano was a featured speaker at the fourth annual Smart Niche Friendship Association symposium

2019.11.01

Mr. Takano, together with our partners Teru Shibata from the Super Boys Guild and Naotaka Nishiyama from SUKIlls, was a featured speaker at the fourth annual Smart Niche Friendship Association symposium, taking place on October 25.

The main goal of the symposium was to foster the exchange or experience and ideas between “smart niche” companies of different types. “Smart Niche” is an original term which denotes companies or professionals that create unique value, either through innovating a particular field, or opening up a new market altogether. In the prelude to the main event, Mr. Goya Kobayashi, a member of the National Policy Institute and the Secretariat to the Ministry of Finance, advocated that Japan as a whole should seek to become a “high-value society”; “Smart Niche” companies, he argued, are the pinnacle of such society.

The event continued with three themed panel discussions, each focusing on a particular type of “smart niche” company. The first one reflected on current challenges faced by Japanese OEMs, and building on the ideas in the opening speech, considered what the manufacturing industry would look like in a future high-value society. As a featured speaker in that panel, Mr. Takano emphasised the need for product vision and the importance of delivering that vision to consumers through consistent branding. “Japanese companies have amazing world-class technologies that can do a lot of good in the world,'' he said, “but no one is going to know that if we don’t position ourselves accordingly.” The second panel focused on “smart niche” companies working within local communities, and the third one touched upon “smart niche” elements commonly found within long-standing enterprises.

The event concluded with a networking session, at the end of which Mr. Takano was invited to deliver closing remarks. We’d like to extend our thanks to all participants who shared with us their unique viewpoints and ideas, and we’re looking forward to the next symposium!

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