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[vision] Sense of direction, backcasting, and lean management

Tomorrow I'm going to talk to students at the University of Tokyo about starting a business. When I talk about this topic, I always have a specific question.

"Why did you decide to do what you do now?

To tell you the truth, it's kind of "that's life". It's a bit of a random answer, but when I look back over the last half-century of my life, I think this is the only way I could have gone. I've talked about this many times before, but I love the story of the early days of Impressionism: in 19th century Paris, Claude Monet told the following story about the origins of Impressionism in the book "Overcrowded".

At first, the new vision is blurred and ambiguous. There is only a 'sense of direction' but no clear idea of its value or significance. For others, of course, but even for oneself.

A critical spirit that changes the world: "I have no more interesting memories than those we have had through our constant clashes of opinion. Your mind was always on the edge, encouraging and inspiring the sincere and unselfish questioning of the other members. You spent weeks with passion until you were able to give final shape to the ideas in your mind. After a series of relentless arguments, I always returned home with a new sense of purpose and a clear head.

Even when we talk about sustainability in this week-long course, we're talking about thinking and walking in a direction. If you look at it from this point of view alone, it looks more like MVP (minimum viable product) than backcasting. Lean Management uses MVP to test an idea that you think will be successful on the market by a product with a minimum function. However, backcasting and lean Management are both used in managing companies and other activities, and I don't think that only one of them is used. In fact, in the book "Overcrowded", there is a Lean Management approach to the seemingly contradictory idea of "letting the market decide if it's the right answer". I think it's essential to at least have a direction, but if you're not sure, it's always good to take a step forward.

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