Editor November 2017

Embrace the future

But don’t forget the past

As we move towards the end of the year, it is time for all manner of awards and recaps. For BCCJ ACUMEN, one of the former is closest to our hearts—the British Business Awards. We have covered it extensively in this issue, both in its current form and through the story of its origins as told by Ian de Stains OBE.

I leave it to British Chamber of Commerce in Japan President David Bickle (page 15) to offer reflections on what was another fantastic event, but let me offer my congratulations to all the winners, whose success is richly deserved.

Going digital
A building from the 19th century might seem like an unlikely venue for hearing about the future and disruptive technology, but in September the British Embassy Tokyo was just that. Part of a Fintech Summit Week—which saw a series of events take place across the capital exploring the interface between finance and technology—the embassy’s UK Fintech Night in Tokyo brought together bankers, entrepreneurs, investors and government officials for an evening of pitches, networking and discussions.

As part of our coverage of the event, BCCJ ACUMEN had the chance to sit down with Minister for Digital Matt Hancock to ask about the government’s views on fintech. Find out his thoughts on bitcoin, data protection and the opportunities for British fintech firms at a time when the sector is in an exciting stage of its development.

New space
Innovation isn’t just about ones and zeroes, however. Indeed, finding ways to create environments that are conducive to collaboration and new ways of thinking is important, too.

At the start of October, GlaxoSmithKline K.K. moved to Akasaka and into a new office that had been planned with innovation and improved engagement firmly on the agenda. On page 28, we speak to the president of the firm, Kanako Kikuchi, about how the new space realises its vision and the way this is helping employees to work better and more effectively.

The classics
Some things never really need to change, however. On page 38, we take a look at the “proper” way of enjoying afternoon tea with coverage of a seminar given in Tokyo by Philip Sykes, the principal of the British School of Etiquette in London. Such is the regard in which Sykes and his institute are held in Japan that some attendees had previously attended his courses—in the UK.

But the value of these lessons goes beyond knowing whether to stick out your little finger while taking a sip of your tea (you’ll have to read the article to find out whether or not you should), as they offer helpful guidance on how to conduct yourself professionally as well. No wonder then that a top high street bank has employed Sykes’ services.

Staying true to yourself and time-tested methods underpins our latest column from Guy Perryman MBE as well (page 51). In August, he sat down for an interview with music producer Trevor Horn CBE—the man said to have invented the 1980s. Among other things, they discussed Horn’s efforts to maintain fidelity to a particular sound. As you read the piece, I challenge you not to have several hits from yesteryear pop into your head.