Kumano x Innovation
Sunlight filtering through the trees at the Akakura Shrine near where we’ll be staying.
Why innovate in Kumano?
Shintoism in Japan is now attracting a lot of attention. The reason is in the days when Shinto was a core belief system, members of the same community had to constantly help each other to survive a harsh natural environment. In harmony with each other, working together came naturally, and nature itself was regarded as G-d.
In this third year of the Japanese Reiwa era, we are witnessing environmental challenges everyday, including climate change and the biodiversity crisis, as well as a global pandemic and wars. Amidst these rapid changes, we shouldn't focus on competition, but rather complement our current social and business systems by strengthening tenets of collaboration. Herein, the Shinto way of thinking, which emphasizes connecting with each other and aims for harmony, comes in handy.
In this age of a frequently changing landscape, business models based on left-brain logic have reached their limit. Now is the time to reclaim the "sampo yoshi" business model of co-existence and co-prosperity, which resonates with Shinto values and regenerates the natural environment.
zenschool is a business innovation program that uses methods of creating and accelerating innovation, which we have cultivated over the past 10 years. The Kumano version of our program places an increased emphasis on meditation and work within the magnificent nature of Kumano, starting from early in the morning. This program will sharpen the mind, and borrows inspiration and ancient wisdom from the landscape of Kumano, to foster regenerative business ideas and innovation.
“Regenerative" refers to the concept of not only maintaining the existing natural environment and ecosystem services, but also enhancing and improving them through human activities. For example, ancient Japanese Tatara iron manufacturing includes a tradition of restoring nature by planting trees after cutting them down for iron production. In Japanese satoyama (traditional agricultural landscape), biodiversity improvement was a natural result of human activity, which included planting deciduous trees to fertilize fields and rice paddies.
Meditation at Onikura in the morning of the second day (weather permitting).
A program based on True Innovation® theory, developed over 10 years to build intrinsically motivated innovators like Steve Jobs.
A program based on True Innovation® theory
This program is based on True Innovation®, a unique theory of innovation that was developed over a period of 10 years since 2011, through a trial and error process of distilling intrinsic motivation from individuals through mindfulness meditation, self-disclosure in a supportive environment, and deep dialogue.
Reflective, creativity-enhancing conversations are a natural result of self-disclosures, which take place in a place of absolute psychological safety. Afterwards, we distill a product or service concept based on intrinsic motivation, create a business plan, and build out a prototype. After the initial course is complete, you will work with your zenschool masters and classmates once a month for six months to further distill and improve your innovations. This format, as well as access to a growing network of zenschool graduates, helps ensure our students successfully implement their news ideas in their current organization, or alternately commercialize them in a new corporate entity.
CEO of enmono Co., Ltd.
After working for Fujitsu Limited, Miki began and then ended his doctoral studies at Keio University, later working as a part-time lecturer at Mie University and Kobe University. Then, while working as an executive at an IT venture, Miki experienced a loss of mental balance due to his company’s restructuring, after which he began practicing zazen at home. This practice helped him to recover and later found his current company in 2009.
In the beginning, he held zenschool courses to accelerate innovation in the manufacturing industry, where he has helped numerous SME factories develop their own products. In April 2017,
he founded Zen2.0 (a general incorporated association (GIA) that organizes the world's largest international conference on Zen and mindfulness) with his colleagues and became co-chairman.
He is the author of several books, including "Let's Start Micro Monozukuri" and "True Innovation: Changing the Mindset of Employees with 'Zen-like' Dialogue.”
CTO of enmono Co., Ltd.
After graduating from Doshisha University, Utsunomiya worked as a production engineer at Suzuki Motor Corporation for 18 years. His last role was as production engineering section chief at a local factory, after which he joined NC Network, a venture company supporting small to medium-sized manufacturing companies, where he met Miki-san. There, as a production engineer and manager in charge of procurement, he was involved with selecting suppliers for prototype manufacturing and providing sales support for parts procurement.
In 2009, he founded enmono Inc. with Miki-san. Thanks to spending two years facilitating an idea generation workshop called "Power Generation Conference," he built up professional skills in extracting ideas for developing in-house products.
zenschool Master Candidate（Teaching Assistant & （English Language Support）
Adam Lobel, Representative Director, Kumano Shindo GIA
Originally from New York, Adam graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in religious studies focusing on Buddhist psychology, and holds a Master’s degree from Tokyo City University in Environmental and Information Studies. He is currently Representative Director at Kumano Shindo, a regenerative lab based in Kumano, Mie Prefecture, which since 2020 has been an INNO-vation Network Hub. Concurrently DX Solutions at ITO Corporation, and Research Fellow at the Institute for Future Engineering. Previously, co-founder and Ecosystem Director at Sizung, the global collaboration platform for making this world a better place to live. 2019 INNO-vation Generation Award winner . He is a graduate of zenschool VR02, and provided course support for VR03 and VR04.
Dates and Fees
We will make a decision by adjusting the schedule of those who have applied. Scheduled to be held after summer
This is a 6-month program that includes 3 days of intensive lectures and a follow-up program for practical use.
If you cancel your reservation, you will be charged a cancellation fee, so please be sure to check the cancellation policy before applying.
Please be sure to check the cancellation policy before you register. *Meals, transportation, and lodging (7,000 yen per night for a guest house, about 9,000 yen per night for a business hotel) Please pay for food, transportation, and accommodation separately.
・Installment: 30,300 yen/month (tax not included) x 12 installments
・Lump-sum invoice payment: 360,000 yen (tax not included)
・Credit card: 350,000 yen (tax not included)