Executive Director

Innovation hub

Stay ahead of the times

At the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ), we innovate. We are continuously looking for in­te­res­ting and useful ways to bring value to members. So in our 70th anniversary year, we are trying something new.

Innovation in action
Next month, we will host two exploratory “hackathons” focusing on topics that have cultural and commercial significance: the “Rugby Scrum” on 24 May and the “Diversity Drill Down” on 30 May. These inclusive events will bring together people across industries, job functions, nationalities and age groups to tackle real issues facing businesses and society today.

The hackathon format is designed to promote creative thinking and problem solving by providing our members access to individuals and organisations who have ideas and backgrounds that differ from their own. The outcome for participants—BCCJ members and external stakeholders—is that they generate solutions that could, ultimately, allow us all to challenge the status quo.

Over seven decades, the BCCJ has built some core competencies—delivering events, promoting public–private sector information sharing and partnership, and providing business-matching services.

In our jubilee year, we ask ourselves, “What should we carry forward into the future, and what should we leave behind?” In response, we are diversifying internal operations. This will soon become visible on our digital communication channels, with improved offerings for members and non-members alike.

Additionally, the BCCJ office is an agile and functional space which can be used to host many different styles of events, such as workshops, speeches, roundtables, presentations, receptions and seminars. Members are invited to suggest topics and speakers for the BCCJ events programme that we can comfortably host “on home turf” at a competitive price point.

Spring cleaning
Going through the BCCJ office archives recently, we found a book entitled the BCCJ Handbook. Printed in January 1985, it was the first time that BCCJ member-firm data had been listed in one place.

Sir Sydney Giffard KCMG, the British ambassador to Japan at that time, said that to achieve this “in one of the most dynamic and rapidly expanding economies in the world requires cooperation and sharing of resources”.

While the BCCJ is now so much more than a place for members to have their respective firms’ names and addresses listed, our network remains our biggest asset.

Therefore, at the beginning of the chamber year do think about re-jigging your membership listing and ask if your firm is using all its allocated spots in the BCCJ directory. As a reminder, those in our Platinum category can list an unlimited number of members; Corporate members, 12; and Entrepreneurs, two. If you have any vacant seats, please consider awarding these to young people and women in your organisation.

At the time of writing, almost 70 members have signed up to attend our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 26 April at the Conrad Tokyo.

This year, members will learn in more detail about the findings of our Membership Review and how these will help inform the direction for the coming year. Of course, there will be time for those attending to ask questions during the meeting. The review has allowed us to reignite conversation with a number of dormant companies and individuals, and expectations are high.

What do you want to see more of in 2018? Please book your seat for the AGM. And then come and innovate together!