The Wise Company Book Summary - The Wise Company Book explained in key points
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The Wise Company summary

Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi

How Companies Create Continuous Innovation

4.2 (77 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

"The Wise Company" by Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi is an innovative management guide that presents practical steps corporations can take to stay competitive in a rapidly changing world. The book highlights the importance of knowledge creation, leadership, and organizational culture.

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    The Wise Company
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    There are three main problems facing companies today.

    In 1995, the authors released their influential book The Knowledge-Creating Company. It explained the business practices behind some of Japan’s most successful companies. To this day it’s still considered a classic. But a lot has changed since 1995.

    At the heart of that book was knowledge management. It explained how companies can take advantage of both explicit knowledge, like statistics and data, and tacit knowledge, the kind of insights you gain through experience. These days, however, knowledge has become more accessible, more abundant, more global, and more complex. As a result, we should focus on how to harness and use that knowledge more wisely.

    The key message here is: There are three main problems facing companies today.

    Despite the abundance of knowledge, companies still fail. Even once-great titans like Kodak, Circuit City, and General Motors have been brought to their knees. There are three reasons for this.

    The first is that many executives are over-reliant on explicit knowledge, such as data, numbers, and analytical formulas.

    This kind of knowledge might tell an automobile company which price points a customer desires. But it says little about the features and experience the customer desires.

    More to the point, explicit knowledge won’t help companies navigate change. For one, it lacks context. It can also mislead executives into thinking that there are one-size-fits-all solutions. Instead, companies must understand social phenomena, and that’s hard to do by looking only at numbers.

    Second, companies must think about the future they want to create.

    To become both successful and sustainable, companies need to recognize what they are: social entities. Businesses have a social impact, and this needs to be considered as part of the mission.

    Take the founder of Honda Motor, Soichiro Honda. When he was developing low-emission engines, he boasted that the mission was to beat the Big Three – Ford, GM, and Chevy. But then he heard that his engineers had a different mission – to develop engines that would make the world a better place for their children. Honda knew his engineers were right. He felt so ashamed that he announced his retirement.

    This leads us to the final reason, the need for wise leaders.

    Wise leaders are the ones who can contextualize what is happening in the here and now and take the right action without hesitating. Above all, wise leaders can offer superior value to their customers while also leading a morally responsible business – one that exists in harmony with society.

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    What is The Wise Company about?

    The Wise Company (2019) is a follow-up to the authors’ influential book The Knowledge-Creating Company. It brings the techniques and practices of running a successful business into the twenty-first century, where a fast-changing and chaotic marketplace is the new normal.

    The Wise Company Review

    The Wise Company (2017) explores the importance of knowledge creation and the role it plays in successful organizations. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through real-life examples and case studies, it offers insights into how companies can effectively manage and leverage knowledge to stay competitive in today's fast-paced world.
    • With its emphasis on teamwork and collaboration, the book provides practical strategies for fostering a culture of innovation and learning within an organization.
    • By highlighting the importance of combining tacit and explicit knowledge, it offers a fresh perspective on knowledge management and how it can drive business success.

    Best quote from The Wise Company

    Above all, creating the future must extend beyond the narrow interest of the company. It must be about pursuing the common good.

    —Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi
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    Who should read The Wise Company?

    • CEOs and business owners
    • Executives looking for reliable management tips
    • Anyone interested in the secrets behind Japanese business practices

    About the Author

    Ikujiro Nonaka has been developing influential and game-changing business practices since the 1960s when he initiated new management practices at Fuji Electric. He’s since gone on to become one of the most respected business theorists in the world, with his insights into knowledge management changing the way many companies are run.

    Hirotaka Takeuchi is a professor at Harvard Business School and is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review. He’s co-authored many influential works with Ikujiro Nonaka, including The Knowledge-Creating Company and “The New New Product Development Game,” an article that’s credited with inspiring the Scrum framework for software development.

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    The Wise Company FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Wise Company?

    The main message of The Wise Company is the importance of knowledge creation and organizational learning for business success.

    How long does it take to read The Wise Company?

    The reading time for The Wise Company varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Wise Company a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Wise Company is definitely worth reading. It provides valuable insights into how companies can become more innovative and adaptive in a rapidly changing business environment.

    Who is the author of The Wise Company?

    The authors of The Wise Company are Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi.

    What to read after The Wise Company?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Wise Company, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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