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FMIC Japan: Introduction of “SHINKA Map”

In this article, we would like to introduce the SHINKA method. It is used in workshops in the field of innovation excellence and is a method for systematically organizing new business ideas in four fields. The SHINKA method was developed by FMIC (IMIG Japan) and is used by many companies.

What is the SHINKA method?

When thinking of the innovation & Future Business Unit (FBU), those 4 viewpoints (strategies) can be useful. For a Japanese word pronounced as SHINKA, we have put 4 different Kanjis (Chinese Characteristics), and each symbolizes one viewpoint.

  • 1st viewpoint for Innovation & FBUs is to pursue the existing core competence
  •  2nd viewpoint is to forwarding today’s business position & business process value-chain-position
  • 3rd viewpoint is to expand to future market or by an alliance with other companies to break the border rules
  • 4th viewpoint is to enter a new business field, different from existing customers nor technology. This includes innovation which can change the existing market drastically.

Fig. 1: Activity concept for future strategy design stage

Strategic ideas in 4 fields

1. SHINKA: Enhancing core competence

The 1st SHINKA strategy is ‘enhancing core competence.  We regard core competence as a source of competitiveness.  This SHINKA strategy is to seek the possibility of new business, by deepening its core competence. Regardless of to quote Drucker’s knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect, one should start the challenge from one’s strength, not by overcoming the weakness.

2. SHINKA: Forwarding the value chain

The 2nd SHINKA strategy is ‘forwarding the value chain. As you already know, the concept of the value chain is proposed by Michael Porter. It is to think the whole business process as consecutive value-adding processed until the product is delivered to the customer. This value, of course, means the value for the customer. Our 2nd SHINKA strategy is to use this value chain concept and seek the possibility of new business from a customer value viewpoint. That is to find competitiveness and come up with the idea of a complementary relationship with other companies and develop a new business model.

3. SHINKA: Expanding the market

The 3rd SHINKA strategy is expanding the market, to challenge the future market. When thinking about the market, the basic approach is market segmentation analysis. As you know, it is to divide the market by attributes and plan the basic strategy for each segment. This is the classic approach, but this is not suitable when thinking about the future market. In this SHINKA strategy, we want to focus on market creation. We try to foresee the future market through current small signs and weak signals, and proactively create the market itself. 

4. SHINKA: Challenging for disruptive innovation

The last SHINKA strategy is to challenge disruptive innovation.  The disruptive innovation is, as you may already know, the concept proposed by C. Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma. In his theory, there are two types of innovation. One is sustaining innovation, ordinary improvements such as functional improvements. And the other is a disruptive innovation which can even change the market drastically. As we already have mentioned in 1st SHINKA, when designing the future, we tend to start with today’s strength, but there’s no guarantee that it stays as strength in the future. In this 4th SHINKA, we focus only on what strength we should acquire in future.


Case Study of SHINKA strategy map

Fig. 2: SHINKA strategy map

SHINKA strategy map is to image and to map FBU ideas with 4 SHINKA viewpoints. There are two purposes for this map.

1st purpose is to have a unified common understanding for the future by thinking about 4 SHINKAs together as a team. Therefore, the important point is to do this work freely and at random, with a brain-storming way of thinking. The accuracy is not needed, but we rather appreciate the quantum leap, unique ideas. Also, it is important to think of further ideas based on what each member came up with. 

The 2nd purpose of this map is to gain expand thinking. We sometimes tend to persist for the business ideas we already know. By using this SHINKA strategy map, we can stretch our mind to Disruptive innovation and rethink about our future vision. 

When working on this map, it is necessary to set the theme first.  The theme should be set at the center, what business area.  Then, everyone places one’s ideas. When mapping the ideas, it would be useful to set a rough timeframe, so that certain ideas become one bigger idea and connect to the next big idea for later years.  

The facilitation to generate the idea chain (connect ideas) is very important:

  • What is the vision for future business?
  • How does it adjust to social needs?
  • What kind of market do you want to create?
  • What kind of core competency do you want to develop?
  • What is the connection between core competencies?
  • What is the unique idea inserted in this?
  • Is it possible to build a unique business model?

Through these questions/facilitation, certain appeals or dreams will be revealed and begin to see a very rough story or logic.       

Kazuo Ooiwa
Kazuo Ooiwa 
Managing Director I IMIG Japan/FMIC

For further information please contact us either by mail: or by phone: +49 7152 928 460.

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