Alexa

June Monthly Special 2022

Strategic Execution: CROSS Business Producers, a Global Provider of Business Creation Support, Upholds Organized Innovation Culture, Inspires Change through Creative Practices

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“We help individuals develop a growth mindset and are determined to contribute more strongly to both of our local and international clients to move forward in a hopeful future.”

When change happens, humans are often surprised. Factually, they like routine as it makes them feel in control of their lives. Nonetheless, change is the only constant in life. The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus, said it centuries ago. Embracing change is a must. It is essential to growth.

Furthermore, ‘don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction’ is again a reminder that we should rather increase the pace and expedite needed actions to let a change occur sooner. American business tycoon Bill Gates said it some time ago. In essence, we wouldn’t exist if the change hadn’t occurred in the first place.

There’s a Japanese company that out-and-out advocates change for the greater good, helping companies and individuals to shift to large and disruptive changes. Its motto is to initiate change at a grass-root level to help society in general and the business world in a variety of ways. CROSS Business Producers, a Tokyo-based management consultancy firm, was founded by Kotoba Miki — a genuine change-maker. In 2011, she founded the company with the mission to introduce more innovative services and knowledge from Japan to the world. Fast forward to today, Kotoba continues to inspire with her extraordinary sense of originality and courage. Last year, CROSS Business Producers celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The Silicon Review contacted Kotoba Miki for her comments about how her journey panned out working on an international stage (for CNN, Andersen Consulting, Fujitsu, etc.) and how she plans to expand what CROSS Business Producers is currently offering.

By bridging the past and the future, we are serving the global society by launching innovation in larger corporations and local start-ups.”

Kotoba says CROSS Business Producers is coming up with a Super Global Virtual HQ to serve communities (local and international) by communicating innovative, next-gen business ideas.

“As a professional business development company, this is our critical concept.”

A Sneak Peek into Kotoba’s Journey as an International Business Development Professional

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Kotoba went through a myriad of life-changing events that led her to the establishment of the company in the first place. She wanted to change how companies worldwide view crises and unpredictability. Even though numerous incidents triggered what she went on to achieve, there is one incident in particular that she remembers vividly — the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center (WTC).

“My client's branch was in the WTC at the time. I did not know the victims directly, but some of our distant associates were affected. This motivated me to launch CROSS Business Producers to support the unstable society through the power of business development.”

Kotoba witnessed human suffering on a larger scale is something that impacted her at a deeper level. Shortly, after the WTC attack in 2001, Kotoba joined the head office of Fujitsu Limited, where she specifically consulted with clients who were focused on launching new businesses.

There’s one more incident that she reminisces about is the Great East Japan Earthquake, 2011, also known as, The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Again, this incident is synonymous with grief and loss. Kotoba observed a strange trend that bothered her to a great extent — poor response to the crisis. Kotoba says, the Japanese are slow to adapt to new changes and that’s why she set up CROSS Business Producers to make a difference and introduce a culture of ‘open-mindedness’.

“Compared to the rest of the world, I feel that Japan’s business development capabilities are weak. Even if we work at a major company, with an established business model, we don’t necessarily meet the demands of the current society.”

Working for several multinational companies across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America, Kotoba spent 10 years in international business development. The time she spent from 2001 to 2011 serving international clients made her the leader she is today.

Currently, she serves as the Chief Executive Officer of CROSS Business Producers.

Facilitating Change

Contrary to CROSS Business Producers’ initial focus on local Japanese companies, it has expanded its reach and is now serving international clients. With a holistic and comprehensive approach, Kotoba and her team help their clients create a robust model capable of surviving uncertainties and crises. What makes Kotoba and her team invincible is their willingness to adapt to what their clients demand. Their attitude of meeting clients’ expectations daily speaks volumes about what CROSS Business Producers has achieved over the years. As noted above, the company celebrated its 10th-anniversary last year and continues to go strong.

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Koyo Murata, Director of CROSS Business Producers, has been involved with the global management consulting industry for many years. While working on a project for his previous employer, he came across a concept called “Future Prediction.” One of the services CROSS Business Producers offers.

“Our company makes ‘future forecasts.’ The future is discussed and updated every year. We plan for the future, at least 10 years and 30 years, in advance.”

Following are some of the primary services CROSS Business Producers offers, including Innovation Scenario Planning, Business Strategy, Global Strategy, Generating Change Makers, Product Design, etc. The secondary services include Future Forecasting, Competitive Advantage Building, Target Market Analysis, Alliance Partner Sourcing, Financial Planning, Human Resource Strategy, Project Management, etc.

CROSS Business Producers constantly updates its services portfolio to address its clients’ needs. More importantly, its purpose of ‘defining change points and delivering value to society by business’ hints at how committed Kotoba and her team are — to delivering top-class services to its diverse range of clients. 

“To achieve this, we are working on multiple projects with clients, partners, and entrepreneurs widely. They are determined to be the leading examples in their respective markets.”

In addition to start-ups, CROSS Business Producers serves large corporations such as the TOPIX 100, Mitsubishi Group, Mitsui Sumitomo Group, Fujitsu, and NTT, to name just a few.

Kotoba as an experienced business development professional focuses on international collaboration, serving large corporations. Her expertise bridges Japan with the rest of the world as she helps businesses that wish to adapt to a rapidly changing era.

“We help individuals develop a growth mindset and are determined to contribute more strongly to both of our local and international clients to move forward in a hopeful future.”

On a side note, businesses should make people happy, but large companies plagued with silo-based bureaucratic structures, cannot achieve this. That’s where Kotoba and her team come into play.

“We challenged tedious business development practices that were accepted by many. And challenging the status quo was one of the primary goals we wanted to achieve at the outset. Eventually, we succeeded.”

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Business Beyond Business

CROSS Business Producers is involved with a global food system, ethical apparel businesses, and space initiatives. The company’s ‘Food For Thought’ program with the Food Systems Game Changer Lab at the UN Food Summit 2021 — is commendable.

“We work closely on global issues with my colleagues regardless of race, personality, gender, nationality, value, and background.”

As part of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit, the Food Systems Game Changers Lab is a global call to action to build a better food future, together.

‘Circle of Trust’: The X-Factor

A ‘Circle of Trust’ is a concept Kotoba believes is a basic building block for forming solid relationships. She said that the concept is the lifeblood of CROSS Business Producers.

“The ‘Circle of Trust’ is to build good relationships with the people involved in a business through business development. The subject is not only limited to visible relationships, but also to the friends I haven't seen yet. We will comfortably weave relationships with people, events, and spaces that exist widely, such as the environment of the entire earth and the universe.”

CROSS Business Producers | The Leaders at the Helm

Kotoba Miki, Founder: Kotoba, founder, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of CROSS Business Producers. As a strategic leader, her vast experience in the business development field helps her quickly establish the most efficient path to building a successful business and achieving the client’s mission.

A member of the Japan Academy of International Businesses Studies and the Academy of International Business, Kotoba is the president of kotobaworks, Inc, a subsidiary of CROSS Business Producers.

Kotoba has won numerous awards, including ‘The Most Inspiring Japanese Entrepreneur of the Year 2021’ by APAC Entrepreneur. She was a member of the Food System Game Changer Lab 2021 program at the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. And she authored a book, “What does it mean to create a business?”-How to ignite your business as a real case- (2019).

Kotoba earned a BA in International Business & Marketing and an MBA from Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.

Koyo Murata, COO: As a Chief Operating Officer, Koyo Murata finds joy in discovering the unique values of the individuals and places which become the core project. This is often an eye-opening experience to both the project members and the target audience. His outstanding ability to create a strong culture and ignite motivation among the project members has brought many projects to success. He also has an excellent knack for finding the best designers for product development projects.

Graduate of Keio University with a degree in Policy Management, Koyo has worked for a major apparel manufacturer and taken up several design projects as a freelancer before joining CROSS Business Producers. At Keio University, Koyo studied under the world renowned industrial designer, Naoki Sakai, and was involved in the development of the IT-operated White Cane for the Blind, from planning to production.

“We challenged tedious business development practices that were accepted by many. And challenging the status quo was one of the primary goals we wanted to achieve at the outset. Eventually, we succeeded.”

“By bridging the past and the future, we are serving the global society by launching innovation in larger corporations and local start-ups.”