What’s it like working with innovation for 23 years in Japan?! Our 1st Innovation Dojo Mentor interview!

Mark Foley is an Innovation Dojo mentor working with NanoGlobe as a Senior Consultant in their Tokyo offices.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Mark and ask him what it is REALLY like and get some special insights from his wealth of experience. Check out what he had to say below.

Mark Foley

Who you are and what you work on in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship in Japan?

I have been in Japan for 23 years, and spent many years in the semiconductor chip industry while also trying to help large Japanese companies improve their weaknesses in management and strategy. Presently in NanoGlobe, we help clients get nanotechnologies from the lab, to products and to the market. Nanotechnology spans from semiconductors to new materials for displays or batteries, to biotech. As I have a PhD in physics from UNSW I understand the technical side, as well as having business expertise, and bridging both worlds is a value we bring to our clients to get products and companies to market.


What’s one insight into doing business & working in innovation and entrepreneurship in Japan?

In Japan, have patience. Some people say the Japanese can be conservative and don’t want to change, but in many cases that is not quite true. In many cases, they may not know what to do, so things can come to a halt. However, if you can give them a “step-by-step” process to help them move forward, then they may take it. A different approach is needed compared with the more aggressive, and fast-paced situation we deal with our clients in Korea or China.

What opportunities do you see now for entrepreneurs thinking about Japan as a market to enter?

Japan still has great manufacturing and the best quality, however Japanese companies may be weaker on the business or marketing side. So if you need an advanced technical partner, Japanese companies may be interested to combine with your acumen in product, business and marketing. Again, patience is needed.

We will be checking in again with Mark for more insights and introducing more Innovation Dojo mentors soon – stay tuned!!

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