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Blogs by the Chasm Institute Team & Colleagues

Aug 2017

Can Japan Capture the Next Technology Wave?

Can Japan Capture the Next Technology Wave?


  • Andrew Salzman -- Principal, Chasm Group LLC
  • Michael Eckhardt -- Managing Director, Chasm Institute LLC 

Japan has historically excelled at world class manufacturing . It’s a hardly disputed fact that no other country matches this amazing capability. Manufacturing lends itself to incremental improvement through quality principles like kaizen, decentralized shop floor decision-making, and keiretsu-based value chains… manufacturing traits embraced and optimized by Japan’s large companies. However, what worked exceptionally well from 1970-1989 in driving Japan’s economic miracle and prosperity faltered with the bursting of the “Nikkei Bubble” in 1990. What happened?

In 2 words…Digital Disruption! 

Tech Innovation in Japan

Over the past 25 years, new technologies have fueled business model innovation and category re-invention around the globe – but not in Japan. These powerful disruptive forces demand new skills and approaches to innovation that go beyond traditional manufacturing process improvement. And Japan has largely missed out.

During the past 2 years , we have spoken with many Japanese industry executives and tech leaders who are actively working on impressive innovation projects -- but struggling with the transition to actual success in the market. 

At Chasm Institute, we know that there is no shortage of innovation in Japan. Japanese technology leaders and industry experts consistently use all the right buzzwords when talking to us like IoT, AI, VR and AR, machine learning, cognitive computing, and big data.  Innovative thinking is in the air. What is missing in Japan are the skills + capabilities for successfully bringing these innovations to market:


That is why Chasm Institute is executing today on our JAPAN 2020 ACTION PLAN” – a 4 year effort over 2017 - 2020 – to bring our proven innovation expertise and go-to-market tools to large tech companies operating in Japan.

In our work with Japanese executives and their teams, we  are addressing the two root causes that have allowed many Japanese tech companies to miss major waves of technological innovation in the past 25 years:

  1. A failure to successfully innovate, due to  a traditional business culture averse to radical change and disruption.
  2. A reliance on product-driven thinking -- led by engineering teams operating in silos -- who often lack the customer insight, market knowledge, and go-to-market skills needed to capture and win new markets.

Chasm Institute:  Japan 2020 Action Plan

Our Chasm Institute team has spent the past 15 years helping many global tech companies to accelerate growth through technology innovation. We are the recognized Silicon Valley experts in helping companies launch + scale new innovations, and then transitioning them into dominant high-growth businesses --- something we experienced first-hand in our work with GE tied to the rise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Chasm Institute’s “JAPAN 2020  ACTION PLAN” is based on 6 key factors:

  • Our learnings from our 500+ client engagements during the past 15 years -- with companies like GE, IBM, Google, Cisco, Adobe, Salesforce, Mitsubishi, and many other global tech leaders
  • Our best-selling books from Chasm Institute Chairman Geoffrey Moore, a well-known Silicon Valley thought-leader, that are now newly-updated and available in Japanese, with over 3,000,000 copies sold worldwide:

Crossing the Chasm 2.0
Marketing & Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers


Escape Velocity
Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past


  • Our travels to Japan 4 to 5 times per year, where we conduct training programs, executive seminars, and longer-range consulting services … all with materials and content available in both English and Japanese.
  • Our practical, actionable tools + methods for successfully launching and scaling new innovations into key markets worldwide
  • Our additional services focused on open innovation, change management, and Silicon Valley best practices.
  • Our newly-updated Japanese-language website:

… this website is where our Chasm Institute blogs, published articles, frameworks, models, webinar content, and overall approach to driving new product success are all available in Japanese language.

If you are interested in learning more about our JAPAN 2020 Plan and our work with Japanese tech companies, please contact our:

>>  Japan Program Director in Tokyo, Makoto Akai, at

We look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you during one of our upcoming visits to Japan.


Any questions about this blog? – feel free to contact us at the email addresses shown below:

Andrew Salzman

Michael Eckhardt




Key Topics


Here's Our Point of View

What's Yours?



Chasm Institute LLC helps high-tech teams learn, apply, and implement best practices in market development strategy. These best practices are based on Geoffrey Moore's best-selling books Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado, Living on the Fault Line, Dealing with Darwin, and Escape Velocity plus hundreds of client engagements with high-tech companies. 

Chasm Institute helps companies align their product development, marketing, and sales functions to achieve and maintain market leadership in their categories.


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