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Mar 01 2015 - 07:00 PM
Samurai Startup Island

How is innovation translated differently across cultures? This was the question that the founders of Samurai Startup Island considered when founding the company in March 2008. Seeing their country’s economy hit by global competition in the electronics industry, they sought to create a space to support Japanese entrepreneurs to build new, innovative companies.

Their strategy was twofold. Locate the incubator space in Tokyo, 20 minutes from Haneda airport, to make it easy for international collaborators to visit, and create an environment that is conducive to both productivity and collaboration.

In order to make the idea of innovation resonate with Japanese values, they turned to the Bushido code. Bushido, which literally means "the way of the warrior," refers to 8 moral principles that samurai were required to observe in feudal Japan. It was adapted into a code of conduct to guide SSI’s mission and the mission of companies incubated in the space:

  • Righteousness: Be consistently sincere, not only internally, but also externally.
  • Thanks: Have no toleration for inhumane conduct, and be respectful to all.
  • Courage: Be a vanguard in the crowd that is afraid of taking action.
  • Honor: Emphasize honor and increase your self-worth.
  • Humanity: Respect the spirit of love, and help compatriots in any situation.
  • Honesty: Be sincere and honest in your actions and words.
  • Loyalty: Place a high priority on your loyalty to your master and people you believe in.
  • Challenge: Challenge important goals, and accomplish them in excess of 120%.
  • The office walls are adorned with this code, as well as Japanese art and artifacts, to create a peaceful, collaborative aesthetic. Take a tour of SSI in this video with correspondent Joachim Castellano and join the ongoing discussion on Vialogues!

    @02:05 gnatriello: It is interesting to see how the typical start-up environment is adapted to a particular cultural setting.

    @05:42 gnatriello: The Samurai traditions are being used to provide a legitimating philosophy for being powerful and courageous as a start-up.

    |By: EdLab Studios|536 Reads