MELANIE RAYMENT I  +44 (0)7494 936 787

Creating entrepreneur communities in Japan 

 in conjunction with
Impact Hub, Tokyo 

The Learning Circle is Impact Hub Tokyo's new series of community programs. Helping our entrepreneurs working within Hub - to empower, encourage and inspire them to share their skills, tackle common problems they face collaboratively, continually seek learning opportunities and provides community of trusted mentors. 

Share School, Hacked Up Table, Impact Clinic and collaborative MOOCs help our members grow and be the impact they want to see in the world.

 

Opportunity –

  • social entrepenuers within IMPACT HUB, TOKYO to further leverage the power of their collective knowledge and share learnings with each other

 

Insights

  • Being a social enterprise start-up can be a lonely pursuit with long hours

  • In small start-ups the access to mentors from an array of different disciplines was sometimes difficult to come by

  • Entreneurs in Impact Hub, Tokyo – whilst social, lacked a way for the sharing of knowledge and seeking confidential advice

  • Members often discredited their own unique knowledge as something someone else could benefit from.

 

Known Barriers

  • ‘Busyness’ is a badge within Japanese working culture, preventing time or perceived value in ‘networking’ or ‘knowledge share’

  • Perceptions of self-promotion inhibit entrpreneurs from sharing their stories, success (and indeed failures)

 

Solution Design – The Learning Circle

 

The Learning Circle is Impact Hub Tokyo's new series of community programs. Helping our entrepreneurs working within Hub - to empower, encourage and inspire them to share their skills, tackle common problems they face collaboratively, continually seek learning opportunities and provides community of trusted mentors. 

Share School, Hacked Up Table, Impact Clinic and collaborative MOOCs help our members grow and be the impact they want to see in the world.

 

 

  • A four-pronged approach introduced

    • Skill share

    • Hacking common issues 

    • Impact clinic 

    • Collaborative learning programs (via MOOCs)

  

 

Learnings

The program was piloted in it’s entirety to varying levels of success. Ultimately learning that applying western logic to Japanese working culture meant that assumptions made in solution design failed.

 

Learnings included -

  • Self-promotion for the greater good, was still self-promotion: Recruitment for participation in the program proved difficult. Self-election was not the done thing and members had to be ‘invited’ face-to-face to participate in the program and their skills identified to them as something worthy of sharing

  • Personal relationships are key – working on this project part-time meant that I was not in the Impact Hub enough to develop strong, personal relationships that Japanese required in order to gain trust. Marketing efforts via (a very strong & active) group facebook and other initiatives failed to engage people without these personal relationships

  • Failure and criticism was best spoken about in English, as it allowed Japanese members to disconnect from cultural barriers and negative perceptions that bound them.