The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

In this issue of The ACCJ Journal, we explore creativity in a more obvious way than usual. Although artistic endeavors may seem superficial, those ideas that spring from the brain’s right hemisphere play a critical role in business success—even when their presence may not be apparent.

I’ve come to appreciate this connection more and more as my career has progressed. When I was a child, I wanted to be an artist. That later gave way to a desire to make video games. Neither happened, but I never strayed from the creative path that helped me navigate a less-than-ideal childhood. Eventually, I became a musician, performing professionally for more than seven years as a bass trombonist in a symphony orchestra. I then moved on to magazines, originally as a designer and then as a writer and editor. In all my work, I’ve found that the ability to take a creative approach to analytical and organizational tasks—and vice versa—has led to greater success.

When we think of creativity in business, certain companies such as Apple Inc., Dyson, and The Walt Disney Company come to mind. The artistic aspects of their work—whether in terms of industrial design, user experience, or entertainment value—are clear.

But the same process goes into products and solutions that seem far more practical. One that comes to mind in healthcare is a method for moving blood supplies in Africa, developed by US drone delivery startup Zipline. The company has been using drones to delivery blood for transfusions in Rwanda since 2016 and is looking to move into Tanzania. With round-the-clock service that can fulfill 500 deliveries per day and get blood anywhere within an 80-kilometer radius in less than 30 minutes—rain or shine—this creative solution to an age-old problem is saving lives. It is also saving resources by reducing the amount of blood that goes to waste, as doctors can request only the amount they need and quickly get more if necessary.

This is just one example of how stepping outside the box to find a new approach can transform a business and an industry. To do so requires creativity and a willingness to try something new. I think this is becoming ever more important as the pace of technological advancement and societal shifts forces us to rethink how we do things. Whether it’s addressing healthcare concerns, climate change, matters of diversity and inclusion, or any of the myriad challenges in front of us, the merging of analytical thinking and creativity puts us on the best path to a brighter future.

Christopher Bryan Jones is Editor-in-Chief of The ACCJ Journal. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he has lived in Japan since 1997.