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Dentsu and Discover Japan Launch the "Discover Japan Concept" Using Concepts from Ancient Japan to Support Innovation of Corporations and Communities

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Dentsu Inc. (Tokyo: 4324; ISIN: JP3551520004; President & CEO: Toshihiro Yamamoto; Head Office: Tokyo; Capital: 74,609.81 million yen) announces that Dentsu’s creative think tank “Dentsu Team B,” 1 in collaboration with Discover Japan Inc., 2 a publisher deeply familiar with all aspects of culture throughout Japan, have established the “Discover Japan Concept,” a creative idea consulting service that supports innovation using concepts from ancient Japan.

Amid demands for innovation in all areas, a variety of new methodologies such as design thinking and lean startups proposed in Europe and the United States are now being introduced throughout many corporations.

At the same time, in the field of business, in addition to these methodologies, there is a renewed importance on history, culture, and other “wisdom of the past.” With the growth of inbound tourism to Japan, there is an increasing interest in Japanese culture and traditions passed down from ancient times.

For the past four years, through the Discover Japan magazine series, both companies have discovered and collected a variety of traditional Japanese culture and craft methodologies passed down throughout history and archived dozens of them as concepts contributing to modern innovations.

In July 2019, these concepts are used to launch the “Discover Japan Concept” idea consulting service supporting corporations and communities. This service aims to support the generation of universal ideas that transcend time and are uniquely Japanese, combining concepts from ancient Japan with new business and product planning as a novel approach to innovations created in Japan.

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As an example, in ceramics there is a concept associated with Karatsu-yaki pottery known as “80% potter, 20% user.” In other words, “80% of pottery is created by the potter and the remaining 20% is completed by the user.” This philosophy was practiced long before words such as “open innovation” and “co-creation” became widespread. As opposed to imported concepts, this distinctively specific and practical way of thinking originated in traditional Japanese crafts and is still practiced today.

Based on these collected concepts, Dentsu Team B and Discover Japan have conducted experimental workshops at corporate conferences hosted by Tokyo University of the Arts and financial media where they confirmed the possibility of using concepts from ancient Japan for “zero to one idea creation” and corporate innovation to create new value.

Services Overview
■ Overview: Creative idea consulting service that supports innovation using concepts from ancient Japan
■ Concept examples: In addition to the aforementioned “80% potter, 20% user” there are several dozen others, including traditional crafts, Haiku poetry, flower arrangement, calligraphy, Buddhism, Noh theater, Rakugo comedic storytelling and Japanese-style sweets.
■   Usage examples: “zero to one idea creation” in new business planning, product development, design, marketing, community creation and management training 
■    Process
 ・    Concept selection: Selected from among several dozen ancient Japanese concepts in accordance with corporate issues and themes.
 ・    Esoteric experiences: Conducts research and fieldwork into traditional Japanese crafts and culture.
 ・    Combining ideas: In light of research discoveries, conducts workshops to generate ideas.
 ・    Integrated collaborations: Engages in collaborations and tie-ups between Discover Japan magazine and Japanese crafts.

Operating Entities
1. Dentsu Team B
A team comprised of Dentsu employees who, in addition to their “A-sides” (day jobs), have individual “B-sides” that facilitate alternative approaches by proposing a Plan B--a way of doing things differently than in the past--with regard to various issues facing companies and organizations unable to be resolved directly using a “Plan A” approach. At present, the team is supporting more than 50 projects in a new 21st century process that breaks down barriers.
Dentsu Team B website:

2. Discover Japan Inc.
Developed the “Discover Japan” brand based on the concept of “rediscovering the charm of Japan” since 2008. Promotes the refined charm of Japan through Japanese things, concepts, places, and people. Involved in numerous projects with the Japanese government and corporations. Independently established as “Discover Japan Inc.” in 2018, with plans to open the “Discover Japan Lab” in fall 2019.
Discover Japan Inc. website:

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