The recipient of the Thinkers50 2013 Lifetime Acheivement Award, Ikujiro Nonaka became interested in management and organization while working for Fuji Electric in 1958. He ended up working for the company for nine years and noticed that most of the new theories and methods introduced in Japan were coming from the US. He quit my job and left to study in the US. “My ambition was to develop a new, original, made in Japan theory, rather than borrowing theories from elsewhere,” says Nonaka.
He went to the University of California, at Berkeley, and worked, in particularly, with David Teece. His best known work is in the area of knowledge management. He is co-author (with Hirotaka Takeuchi) of The Knowledge-Creating Company.
“I see management as a way of life,” says Nonaka. “Instead of simply chasing numbers, wise leaders focus on shaping the future together with others considering shared contexts and the common good. Such leaders can judge goodness and set good goals; they can grasp the essence and perceive reality as it is; they create shared contexts or dynamic ba; articulate and communicate the essence as a story; exercise political power to realize such a story; and foster practical wisdom (phronesis) in others to continue their transformation journey.”