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Dr. Ikujiro Nonaka (Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University, Japan)

Professor Nonaka received his B.A. (Political Science) from Waseda University in 1958, MBA in 1968 and Ph.D. in 1972 in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley. He was appointed Xerox Distinguished Faculty Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley in 1997, Professor Emeritus at Hitotsubashi University in 2006, University Professor at Waseda University in 2013, and a member of the Japan Academy in 2016.
He was the Dean of the Graduate School of Knowledge Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (1997 – 2000). His academic career also includes terms as Professor in the Faculty of Management, Nanzan University (1977-79), and in the Faculty of Social Science, National Defense Academy (1979-1982) and Professor (1982-95) and Director (1995-98) at the Institute of Business Research, Hitotsubashi University.

Professor Nonaka’s main research interest is to establish and disseminate the theory of knowledge-based management of companies, communities, public administrations, and nations, for relentless and sustainable knowledge creation and innovation. He has been conducting comparative research on knowledge creation processes in companies and organizations, and of leaders around the world. Accordingly, he is known worldwide as the ‘guru’ of Knowledge-based Management by proposing concepts and theories on organizational knowledge creation and leadership since the 1980s; the SECI Model for organizational knowledge creating; concept of Ba and a dynamic model for factors of organizational knowledge creation; and abilities of wise leadership and phronesis (practical wisdom) for distributed leadership and idealistic pragmatism.
In Spring 2002, Professor Nonaka received double honors, conferred with a Purple Ribbon Medal by the Japanese government, and elected a member of the Fellows Group of the Academy of Management in the United States, becoming the first Asian scholar among the Group’s members. He was ranked number 20 in the Wall Street Journal’s “Most Influential Business Thinkers (May 5, 2008).” In Autumn 2010, he was conferred with the Zuihōshō, or The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, for outstanding achievement and long-service and contributions in education. In November 2013, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Thinkers50, which is given to key business thinkers of our time on the theory and the practice of management. Moreover, The Oxford Handbook of Management Theorists’ (2013) named him one of the 24 seminal figures, past and present, who have made contributions to the theory of management. (Photo: Yuko Yamaguchi)


Dr. Masaaki Kotabe (Professor, Temple University, USA)

Masaaki Kotabe holds the Washburn Chair Professorship in International Business and Marketing at the Fox School of Business at Temple University.  Prior to joining Temple University in 1998, he was Ambassador Edward Clark Centennial Endowed Fellow and Professor of Marketing and International Business at the University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Kotabe served as President of the Academy of International Business in 2016-17.

Dr. Kotabe received his Ph.D. in Marketing and International Business at Michigan State University.  Dr. Kotabe has taught international marketing, global sourcing strategy (R&D, manufacturing, and marketing interfaces) at the undergraduate and MBA levels and theories of international business at the Ph.D. level, among others.  He has lectured widely at various business schools in 20 countries around the world. For his research, he has worked closely with leading companies such as AT&T, Kohler, NEC, Nissan, Philips, Sony, and Seven&i Holdings (parent of 7-Eleven stores), and served as advisor to the United Nations’ and World Trade Organization’s Executive Forum on National Export Strategies.

Dr. Kotabe has written more than 100 scholarly publications, with well over 15,000 Google Scholar citations. His research work has appeared in such journals as the Journal of International Business Studies, Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, and Journal of Marketing.  His books include Global Sourcing Strategy: R&D, Manufacturing, Marketing Interfaces (1992), Japanese Distribution System (with Michael R. Czinkota, 1993), Anticompetitive Practices in Japan (with Kent W. Wheiler, 1996), MERCOSUR and Beyond (1997), Market Revolution in Latin America:  Beyond Mexico (with Ricardo Leal, 2001), Emerging Issues in International Business Research (with Preet Aulakh, 2002), Global Supply Chain Management (with Michael J. Mol, 2006), SAGE Handbook of International Marketing (with Kristiaan Helsen, 2009), and Global Marketing Management, 7th ed. (with Kristiaan Helsen, 2017), among others.

Dr. Kotabe currently serves as the Editor of the Journal of International Management, and also serves / has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of International Business Studies, the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, the Journal of International Marketing, the Journal of World Business, and the Journal of Business Research, among others.

Dr. Kotabe was elected a Fellow of the Academy of International Business in 1998 and a Fellow of the Japan Academy of International Business Studies in 2017, for his significant contribution to international business research and education.  He is the recipient of the 2002 Musser Award for Excellence in Research at Temple University.


Dr. Tudor Rickards (Professor Emeritus, Manchester Business School, UK)

Tudor Rickards PhD is based at The Alliance Manchester Business School in the UK, where he is Emeritus Professor of Creativity and Organizational Change.

In the mid-70s, he began to establish international contacts.  Since this time, he intensively worked on the development of networks enabling European creativity practitioners to work together and explore alternatives to the dominant US models. He co-founded the academic journal, Creativity and Innovation Management, in 1991, with Susan Moger.  He is Alex Osborn Visiting Professor at the State University of New York, Buffalo, a lifetime position offered to scholars who are deemed to enrich teaching at the University’s Centre for Studies in Creativity.

He has been influential in the development of creativity-related projects in Europe, including the European Association for Creativity and Innovation (EACI). Also, He is a pioneer and advocate of the ‘Manchester Method’ – the system of creative and applied learning championed by Manchester Business School and a subject on which he has written extensively.

He was an early promoter in Europe of the TRIZ system of creativity and idea generation, inviting TRIZ pioneer Dr. Phan Dung to speak at EACI conferences and publishing some of the first papers in English by Dr. Phan Dung on the subject.

Challenging traditional models of creative thinking, leadership, problem solving and team building, his research has been described by The Financial Times as non-traditional. The influences and inspirations for his insights are diverse, and include chess, poetry, sport and politics. 

He was educated at Pontypridd Boys’ Grammar School and went on to study chemistry and radiation chemistry at The University of Wales at Cardiff (now Cardiff University). Following post-doctoral research at New York Medical College in the 1960s, he returned to the UK to work in the R&D department of Unilever Laboratories. It was there that he became interested in creativity and its role in structured problem-solving systems, and from there that he joined Manchester Business School in 1972.

In 2010, Rickards contributed to an eBook collection of political poems entitled Emergency Verse – Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State. He has been appointed to the board of international advisors to the Institute for Creative Management and Innovation, Kindai University, Japan.

In 2015, Rickards took part in a keynote introduction to the ARTEM Organizational Creativity International Conference in Nancy, France, on rethinking paths on creativity to move organizations towards sustainability.

In 2015, he also began a  self-publishing project which culminated in the release of the eBook “The Manchester Method: A Leaders We Deserve Monograph” which is based on over a thousand posts originally published on his blog, Leaders We Deserve, over the period 2006-2018.

More recent books have included fictional novels, and monographs on sports leadership. 


Prof. Gerard Puccio (The State University of New York, USA)

Gerard J. Puccio is Department Chair and Professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC), SUNY-Buffalo State. The ICSC is a unique academic department, founded in 1967 by Alex Osborn inventor of brainstorming, this creativity center offers the worlds only Master of Science degree in Creativity and Change Leadership. Passing on the opportunity to work for Procter & Gamble in Europe, he returned to the United States to join this world-renowned program as an Assistant Professor in 1990. Gerard became the Department Chair in 1997 and has held this position ever since. The ICSC’s vision is To ignite creativity around the world: Facilitating the recognition that creative thinking is a life skill. Gerard’s personal mission is to help his students, both on and off campus, re-ignite their creative spirit, the imaginative and visionary thinking that so often erodes due to conformity pressures and educational practices.

As a scholar Gerard has written more than 60 articles, chapters and books. Sage Publications, one of the world’s largest independent publishers, released his most recent book entitled Organizational Creativity and Innovation: A Practical Guide for Innovators and Entrepreneurs in the spring of 2017. In 2012 his popular press book titled The Innovative Team (Spanish and Chinese translations), co-authored with Chris Grivas, was published by Jossey-Bass. Perhaps his most successful book, Creative Leadership: Skills that Drive Change (Sage), has been translated into Italian, Chinese, and Korean. In recognition of his outstanding work as a scholar, Gerard received the State University of New York Chancellor’s Recognition Award for Research Excellence, as well as the President’s Medal for Scholarship and Creativity.

Through his research Gerard developed a creative-thinking profile that assists individuals identify where their energy and comfort lie within the creative process. This psychological measure, called FourSight, assesses an individual’s degree of preference to think like a Clarifier, Ideator, Developer and Implementer. Individuals use this self-report tool to improve their emotional intelligence and creative power. Teams use this measure to reduce conflict and achieve higher levels of synergy when working together to solve problems or to innovate. To date, more than 100,000 people around the world have completed FourSight.

Gerard is an accomplished speaker and consultant; he has worked with major corporations, universities, and numerous school districts. Some of his recent clients include the BBC, Fisher-Price Brands, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Kraft Foods, The Smithsonian Institution, BNP Paribas, Rubbermaid, Coca-Cola, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. He has delivered creativity workshops and presentations across the United States and in more than 25 different countries.

In 2013 Gerard was selected by the Teaching Company as one of America’s Great Lecturers and as such was invited to create a video and audio course comprised of twenty-four 30-minute sessions. This “Great Course,” titled The Creative Thinker’s Toolkit, was released in January 2014. Gerard was also a featured speaker at a TEDx event held in New York City in December of 2012.

Among many other responsibilities, Gerard serves as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Sheridan College, Oakville, Canada, and serves on the selection committee for the Toy Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. In 2017 Gerard received the top 100 John C. Maxwell Transformational Leadership Award; an annual award given to individuals in North America who are “making a difference, doing something that makes a difference, with people who make a difference, at a time that makes a difference.”

Gerard holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Manchester, England.