The University of Tokyo is renowned worldwide as one of only a few institutions able to set and solve leading-edge issues using its accumulated world-class intellectual property. Today, the University faces a situation in which it needs to fully leverage its track record and take up anew the challenge of shaping future leaders with the capabilities required in the coming age.
Today, world inter-linkage, the essence of globalism, is progressing with unprecedented speed. This is accompanied by a dramatic increase in the complexity of every aspect of society, including politics, economics, technology and culture. At the same time, the world is experiencing a huge transformation as it moves rapidly toward a multi-polar world order, having experienced the bipolar world order of the cold war and the unipolar world order following the fall of the Wall of Berlin. Beside the U.S., and in addition to China and India with their sizable populations and potential for economic growth, Russia and its satellite countries as well the EU form economic spheres of several-hundred-million people. Moreover, both the population and wealth of the Islamic world are increasing rapidly, and Brazil must also be acknowledged. The resulting multi-polar structure is no longer the familiar "OECD countries and developing countries" scheme of the past.
In this multi-polar world, Japan as an economic region, with a population of only over 100 million, has already become an insufficient size in every sense when compared with other large economic regions. Domestic complacency under the increasingly outdated illusion of being the country with the "world’s second largest economy" has caused the chronic decline of Japan’s international stature and role.
In addition, Japan is now confronted with an unprecedented situation in dealing with the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake which might well be called a national crisis. The hardship and pain caused by the earthquake and associated events are immeasurable. The repercussions are even major on a global scale due to the incidents at the nuclear power plant, with safety issues that will take a long time to resolve. People are wondering how, not just the Tohoku region, but the whole of Japan will overcome all of these difficulties.
At the same time, this kind of situation also presents an excellent new growth opportunity for all organizations, including corporations, government institutions, and NPOs to "convert great misfortune into even greater fortune." However, it has already become clear that people with traditional capabilities are simply not well-equipped to seize this opportunity. There is a need to nurture a new kind of human resources with high levels of general skills in addition to the leading-edge knowledge and thinking. Creating a "field for learning" (Ba) to cultivate such future leaders is one of the most critical issues facing Japan’s institutions of higher education. The University of Tokyo has the responsibility to provide the best Ba among these at this time.
In the past, Japanese corporations were steeped in a refinement nurtured by Japanese culture, and enjoyed a market where the majority of consumers were affluent and had refined sensibilities. These corporations were able to display their strength by providing highly sophisticated, leading-edge products, thus contributing to the nation’s growth.
However, as Japan’s economy has lost its relative scale advantage, it has been facing new global issues for which solutions have yet to be identified, such as "managing a rapidly aging society" and "building a low carbon footprint society." As a result, it has become necessary for Japan’s organizations to use the skills they have developed to date to pinpoint correctly what the major issues are and to lead the world in finding solutions. The only way to carry influence in diverse cultural spheres addressing multi-polar directions is with this approach of determining the issues and having the capacities to resolve them.
Japan’s forward-looking impetus has stalled recently as a result of a feeling of hopelessness associated with efforts at internationalization and addressing the confusion that followed the bursting of the economic bubble starting in the 1990s. Moreover, as it enjoys the most affluent lifestyle in its history thanks to its economic success, Japan has turned away from properly observing the changes taking place in the world and eagerly participating in those changes, but has rather stagnated at a crossroads between complacency and the lack of confidence, showing little inclination to seek out new challenges.
The Japanese people and Japanese organizations need to extricate themselves from this situation, and aim high in developing their ability to determine what the issues are and bring solutions that are both universal and cutting-edge, in a world that is becoming increasingly multi-polar. We live in an age where, in order to do this, they will need the opportunity to nurture people with cutting-edge knowledge who are not swayed by a narrow-minded pursuit of hegemony or national interest, and who have an empathy with value-sets held by differing cultures, who will use their keen senses to pinpoint the issues ahead of others, and will go on to offer potential solutions that are both universal and concrete. It also goes without saying that both industry and government are eager to nurture people with such skill-sets.
Given the above situation and to answer the needs of society, we established the University of Tokyo Executive Management Program (Todai EMP) in 2008 for people who are already working. This program aims to nurture human resources with strong comprehensive expertise, who will absorb the University’s advanced knowledge in various fields, and will develop deep insight and learning as well as practical and flexible execution capability.
The Todai EMP aims to provide future organizational leaders, particularly outstanding individuals in their forties with the potential to become top managers, a Ba to shape high-level management capabilities in every aspect of their personalities. The program is unlike anything that other institutions have offered to date.
In particular, the University will develop human resources who, no matter where they are in the world or what situation they face, are able to unaffectedly lead the situation based on solid knowledge, hold highly persuasive discussions with a due understanding of the of the participants’ various cultural backgrounds, have the resilience and drive to build specific issue resolutions, and possess a charisma that goes beyond cultural differences to attract others.
When examined in terms of region, culture is the foundation of thought and daily life that is based on long-kept traditions and lore. Furthermore, normative culture, cognitive culture and experiential culture all exist within the same cultural sphere. Future leaders are expected to possess at least the minimum knowledge and sympathy with regard to these various cultures. This is not the "kind but cold" personality that the elite segment tends possesses, but one that is "strict yet kind." It is a personality that possesses realistic thought that does not fall into an ideology-prone "general irresponsibility" in which everyone is responsible and therefore no specific individuals take responsibility, as well as a code of conduct with a clear foundation. It is from just such personalities that all charisma develops.
The Todai EMP is based on broad learning and the discipline of deep insight that lead to issue resolution and the acquisition of the latest knowledge in the variously expanding field of management. However, it also goes beyond these, and stresses developing discussions in line with the goal of fostering issue-setting capability. To this end, the program devotes energy to unresolved issues and those likely to arise in each cutting-edge field, as well as to lively debates about new issues, unconstrained by the vertical divides among fields.
The coursework that lies at the core of the Todai EMP method focuses on a number of points. First is raising topics that, in all probability, can only be handled within the Ba of Todai EMP. Second is taking a plain look at perspectives, ideas and ways of thinking that can develop only in this particular Ba. Third is a free environment of debate that goes beyond the typical approach of teachers who evaluate and students who are evaluated. And fourth is that, rather than coming up with solutions, new issues will emerge out of the fresh perspective and vision that participants will gain.
The Todai EMP Method
The Todai EMP Method pursues training methods that cannot be used in regular programs, based on the assumption that participants exceed a certain standard based on years of experience from which they have gained knowledge, insight, and the capability to lead. Specifically, we aim for the following:
- Go beyond the usual vertical structure of academics to fully leverage the University of Tokyo’s broad intellectual property, making it available to participants while promoting horizontal collaboration
- Build a lecture series that does not slip into routine or stick to educational principles, but focuses on trying to structure the important issues we face today and offering a new perspective
- Leverage moderators* so that energy goes into discussions that are diverse and take new turns not anticipated by either lecturers or participants, rather than drawing a conclusion
- Place greatest importance on gaining perspective not through knowledge already created, but by understanding the origin and background of knowledge, and the tacit boundary conditions that arise from these
- Master the use of hypothesis, metaphor, illustration/example, symbol, axiom, deduction (analogism), proof (verification), and binomial manipulation, and gain the ability to build universal logic that goes beyond culture
- Aim to improve participants’ information processing capability in today’s information-overloaded environment, including insight and learning that utilizes the sharp distinction between "primary information" and "secondary information"
- Offer direct, on-site experience at the University's facilities and as much contact as possible with important world figures in the belief that "a picture is worth not a thousand, but 10,000 words"
- Have participants gain basic knowledge ahead of time by doing the "required reading," and in class promote discussion focusing on cutting-edge, yet unresolved issues
- Create a unique Ba unlike any other where lecturers expound not an official position but their "personal opinions and thoughts," and where discussion is possible
- Sustain, deepen, and mature thinking outside Friday and Saturday lectures through discussions among participants by leveraging the group network among participants
* In principle, a moderator is assigned to each "Deep Insight and Learning" lecture in order to deepen discussion. The moderator consults with the lecturer ahead of each lecture, bolsters discussion among participants in the lecture, and monitors the discussion so that the lecture moves in the agreed-upon direction, etc. EMP graduates serve as moderators.
Armed with the most advanced knowledge gained in the multifaceted and highly stimulating Ba provided by the Todai EMP, all participants will gain an overall self-awareness of what they knew and did not know. At the same time, they will deepen their recognition of their latent outstanding qualities and discover the catalyst needed to make them blossom even further. Specifically, participants can expect the following impact:
- Obtain an overall perspective on the most important and difficult issues in society today, and whether solutions are possible
- Gain the ability to state their own opinions on cutting-edge issues in their own, not borrowed, words based on solid knowledge
- Increase their understanding of the capability to identify and define issues, and precisely grasp how to discipline themselves in order to improve that ability
- Gain the resourcefulness to develop ideas and function anywhere in the world without losing themselves, based on their own strengths
- Increase their recognition of the need to improve multifaceted communication capability, gain an interest in the subtleties of human relations and become sensitive to a situation and, in a positive sense, the appropriate way to present themselves in that situation
- Exposed to and refined by the most advanced knowledge, assert themselves, and experience the reality that they are no longer taken aback regardless of the topic they face
- Create a mental map of fields where they do not possess world-class management knowledge and of their blind spots, and understand how to gain an understanding of and leverage those topics
- Not only does their circle of outstanding colleagues beyond their fields and with whom they can interact openly expand, but the number of colleagues increases with the years
- Realize a Todai EMP network, where they can immediately gain the latest information and ask the best experts about topics outside their field that they do not understand
- Will have opportunities to broaden their intellect from a perspective that is different from when they were in the program, by remaining active as moderators within the "framework" of EMP, even after completing the program
Todai EMP Community
"The Todai EMP Community" is a significant feature of the program. The University of Tokyo offers multi-faceted support even after the completion of its programs, so that participants can continue to share this important experience. Todai EMP alumni set up the "EMP Club" as an associative structure. It organizes all types of events, study groups and lectures as well as edits and publishes a voluntary newsletter, "EMPower." In addition, alumni can further broaden their intellect by participating in programs after graduation as moderators.