I don't kid myself that four days spent in Tokyo, staying in Western-oriented hotels and with someone around to translate most of the time, is going to lead to in-depth insight into Japanese culture and work approaches. Nonetheless, there were a few self-evident lessons about the future of technology. Click after the jump for some quick ideas to help you approach organising from a different angle. (Photograph of votive prayers at the Meiji Shrine, which might put your to-do list into perspective.)
More information is better than less. On many Australian trains, the
most information you'll get about where the train is heading is a
mumbled comment announcing the next stop. Tokyo's rail system is
considerably more advanced, with the JR line trains showing all the
stations coming up (in Japanese and then English) and an estimate of
how long it will get there. Makes travel planning much easier, even for
Robots will not change the future. As one of my colleagues observed: "Every Japanese company has a robot". Pictured to the right is Emiew (which improbably stands for Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate), an Hitachi robot designed for office work. Very cool and sci-tech (albeit looking like a degendered Astroboy), but not able to demonstrate any really useful office skills other than kneeling.
Clickers are not always a good idea. I've lost track of the number of PowerPoint presentations I've seen over the years that have stalled while someone tries to get the remote to advance to the next slide. It may have just been coincidence, but every presentation I saw last week had a separate person responsible for advancing slides. Low-tech, sure, but good for the viewer, and good for employment levels too.
All hotel rooms should have broadband built into the price. OK, I've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating: if you're in an expensive hotel room, why should you get charged extra for the privilege of going online?
Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to Tokyo as a guest of HDS.