Opinion

ダイバーシティ・インクルージョンを推進するアプローチとは
How do we approach the promotion of diversity and inclusion?

アジアは最高の実験場

 そもそもアジアは、多くの民族・国・文化を包含する地域です。新しい取り組みを成功させるために大切だといわれている、異なる能力・価値観が交じり合う多様性の高い地域であり、変化のスピードが速い地域でもあることから、あまり考えすぎずに「まずやってみよう」という風土があります。日本の外にあるので、日本本社にありがちなステークホルダーの多さや組織の壁の厚さなどの障害もありません。新しい取り組みを試す、最高の実験場といえるのではないでしょうか。

 例えばある日系産業材メーカーでは、複数の事業部が、伝統的にそれぞれで顧客をもつ体制でビジネスを行っていましたが、顧客からの要望をきっかけに現地では事業部をくくり直しました。また、商品開発は日本のR&D部門で進めるものだったのを、優秀なインド人技術者の「こちらでもできるし、スピードも速い」という意見をきっかけに独自のR&Dセンターも立ち上げました。そのインド人技術者を開発チーフとして権限移譲したところ、スピードが速まったばかりではなく、現地顧客との共創が起きやすくなり、実際に売り上げもハイペースで伸びています。

 また、ある日系精密機器メーカーでは、アジア各国に事業開発担当者をおき、さらには本社のR&Dトップと連携して新ビジネスを審議する場を設けました。そしてその審査を通過したプロジェクトには予算をつけ、本社の類似プロジェクトとの協働や外部パートナーとの共創ができる道筋をつくりました。その結果、各国からプロジェクトへの立候補の手があがり、若手の抜擢の機会となったと共に多くの新規事業のネタが提言され始めています。

 このようにアジアでどんどん新しい取り組みを試して、日本やその他の地域に取り入れていくことが、日本企業がグローバルを舞台にビジネスで勝つ手段であり、ダイバーシティ・インクルージョンを身につけていくための、最も早い方法なのではないでしょうか。

 Asia as the best testing ground

     Asia is a melting pot of many different ethnic groups, countries, and cultures. In this part of the world, diversity in people’s abilities and values is said to be one of the most important factors to ensuring that new initiatives succeed. It is also a region of rapid change, with a culture in which overthinking is deemphasized in favor of “just trying it out first.” Moreover, because these Asian regions are located outside of Japan, there are no obstacles such as a large number of stakeholders and imposing organizational barriers that tend to plague the Japan head offices. In other words, Asia can definitely be called one of the best testing grounds for new initiatives.

     For example, at a Japanese-owned industrial materials manufacturer, multiple business divisions traditionally had their own respective clients with whom they conducted business, but upon the request of their clients, they began to consolidate their business divisions at their local subsidiaries. Moreover, although they had always conducted product development at the R&D department in Japan, a talented Indian engineer suggested that they could do such work “locally and quickly,” prompting the establishment of an independent local R&D center. After authority over R&D was transferred to this Indian engineer as the head of development, not only did the development process become faster but joint development with local clients became easier to achieve as well, and even sales grew at a higher pace.

     In another case, a Japanese-owned precision machinery manufacturer assigned business development staff to individual Asian countries, and furthermore created opportunities to review and evaluate new business ideas with the head of R&D at the head office. Projects that pass such reviews are given funding, creating a path to joint development with external partners and cooperation with similar projects at the head office. This has led to an increase in volunteers for participation in various projects from a variety of countries, served as an opportunity for young people to be selected for participation, and e prompted a variety of proposals for new businesses.

     In this way, successively trying out new initiatives in Asia and then adopting them in Japan and other regions is one method by which Japanese companies succeed in business on the global stage, and it is perhaps the fastest way of incorporating diversity and inclusion in a company as well. 

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