Wharton Global Alumni Forum: Tokyo

logotokyoAs part of the Wharton Global Alumni Forum, Professors Jerry Wind and Hotaka Kithara, with the participation of leading practitioners from Hakahodo and Nissan, presented: Are you ready for the changing face of advertising and marketing in Japan and around the World? Findings from the WFoA.

The business environment in Japan and around the world is changing at unprecedented speed and magnitude. Consider the increased importance of the empowered and skeptical consumers, the proliferation of media fueled by unparalleled advances in science and technology, the  fragmentation of markets, and the emergence of the BRIC countries as the new giants.

The purpose of the session was to explore the implications of the findings of the WFoA project Advertising 2020 to advertising in Japan and around the world. This interactive  session reviewed the findings of the Japanese entries, compared and contrasted them to the views of the other global experts, and focused on the short and long-term implications of these findings to advertisers and their agencies. Participants in the session were encouraged to assess their own advertising and marketing strategies against the emerging vision of Advertising 2020 and its implications to advertising today.

At the three day event, over 35 speakers participated in seven panel discussions. Moderators of the event included:

windJerry Wind, Lauder Professor, Director, SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management; Academic Director, The Wharton Fellows Program, The Wharton School

The Brave New World of Advertising: The session explored the implications of the findings of the Wharton study on ‘Advertising in the Year 2020′ to advertising in Japan and around the world. Advertising 2020 is examining the views of over 200 of the world’s leading thought leaders including key Japanese experts, on two questions: (1) what advertising could / should look like in 2020? and (2) what should companies do now to get there?

mitchellOlivia Mitchell, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor, Executive Director, Pension Research Council; Director, Boettner Center on Pensions and Retirement Research, The Wharton School
Now For the Hard Part – Aging in the World Environment: According to the Population Reference Bureau, by 2055 Japan will have only 90 million inhabitants (down from 128 million now). Yet two-fifths (41%) of them will be over 65 years old, almost double the current percentage. How will the other three-fifths live while supporting the longer lives of the elderly? Continuing current practices and policies is clearly unsustainable. What can be done? Like global warming, this problem seems to be an inevitable challenge of life in the 21st Century. We can try to alter the trend, but learning how to live with the trend is also a wise option. This panel brought together a group of experts to discuss challenges and opportunities relevant not only to Japan, but also to other countries that have aging populations or that will eventually face these same challenges. Wharton Professor Olivia S. Mitchell moderated this panel discussion, which included time for audience questions and participation.

cohenMorris Cohen, Panasonic Professor of Manufacturing and Logistics, Co-Director, Fishman-Davidson Center for Service and Operations Management, The Wharton School

Global Supply Chain Management – Outsourcing, Re-Shoring, and Near-Shoring: Many manufacturing firms are re-examining the structure of their global supply chains and their associated sourcing strategy in response to the uncertainties and risks they face in these turbulent times. This panel considered the current status of sourcing strategy from the perspective of major multi-national firms. The goal of the session was to bring a group of senior executives, from leading multi-national companies headquartered or operating in Japan, together to explore their current thinking and practices concerning global supply chain strategy and sourcing. The discussion facilitated an exchange of ideas that identified managerial challenges and concerns. It also ascertained current practices and intentions of participating companies. The panel focused on issues that included development of an understanding of the drivers of sourcing decisions as perceived by the participants in order to identify opportunities for improvement and barriers to implementation.

ortsEric Orts, Guardsmark Professor; Professor, Legal Studies and Business Ethics and Management, Director, Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, The Wharton School

Risk, Challenges, and Opportunities: Lessons Learned from 3/11: This panel focused on the leadership lessons that can be drawn from making tough decisions and leading change during crises. The panelists each shared their leadership experiences, within government, business and the non-profit sectors, throughout the 3/11 earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Common leadership themes and lessons were drawn from the difficult challenges each confronted in the face of one of the world’s most severe natural/environmental disasters in recent times. The discussion also highlighted Japan’s heightened awareness for sustainable energy supply and explore the role of government and business in leading the nation’s recent public movement towards reevaluating the need for nuclear energy and exploring alternative renewable energy sources after 3/11.

siggelkowNickolaj Siggelkow, David M. Knott Professor, Department Chair, Management Department; Co-Director, Mack Center for Technological Innovation, The Wharton School

 Who Dares to Have a Strategy – Even if its Painful?: There is much discussion about strategy – and lack of strategy – in the popular topic of comparing Korean and Japanese corporations. In addition to a matter of national pride, the question is an important one because the evidence shows that a thoughtfully designed and carefully implemented strategy can create a distinct competitive advantage. This panel was comprised of both Korean and Japanese experts, who dissected some of the drivers of, impediments to, consequences of and opportunities in corporate strategy. Questions that the panel addressed include: Is it painful to develop a strategy? Is it even more painful not to have a strategy? What are the barriers to develop a strategy? Can firms still succeed by just focusing on operational excellence? How do firms deal with tradeoffs? Does a strategy require top-down direction to be effective? Does bottom-up planning (at the division or departmental levels) hinder or enable the development of an integrated strategy?

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFranklin Allen, Nippon Life Professor of Finance and Economics, Co-Director, Financial Institutions Center, The Wharton School

Lessons Learned from the Financial Crisis: What lessons have been learned from the financial crisis? The question itself begs several more questions: which “financial crisis”? There have been many within the memories of people active today. Lessons learned by whom? Financial services professionals? The investing public? Regulators? Politicians? There is no question that this panel, populated with experienced professionals from three countries, had plenty to discuss about a topic in which virtually everybody has an interest and an opinion. And who better to moderate the discussion than Wharton Professor Franklin Allen, the Nippon Life Professor of Finance and Economics as well as a perennial teaching award winner for the past thirty-three years?