Ko Fujii | The Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2019

Ko Fujii

Founder & CEO


“Stop what you are doing and take a break”

Ko Fujii is that rarest of beasts, someone who is trying to bring innovation to Japan’s notoriously conservative public affairs profession. Fujii founded Makaira in 2014, developing a public affairs consultancy that specializes in advocacy for innovative players such as tech startups and social entrepreneurs. Formerly head of public policy for Google in Japan and a Japanese government official at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Fujii works to bring innovation and collaboration to many sectors across Japan and is a member of the Secretariat of Sharing Economy Association Japan. 

How do you define innovation?
Doing things in a new way that challenges the existing paradigm and brings new value to the society.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
I liked IKEA's ThisAbles. It's the company's vision and values turning into innovation in product design, handsomely executed in a democratic and participatory way.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
Because of my work I tend to focus on the public/nonprofit sectors. Among the NGOs active in my country, I believe Plan International stands out as one of the most innovative in PR and marketing.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
When I founded my company it was the first public affairs agency in Japan to focus completely on advocacy for the innovative players (tech startups, social entrepreneurs, etc). I think that was innovative.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation? 
Steve Jobs

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Stop what you are doing and take a break.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
For the specialists, pursue true creativity. For managers and entrepreneurs, don't just stay within the PR industry.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
I would be a copywriter in an advertising agency.

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. 
Favorite quote: "I just live by the ABCs: Adventurous, Brave, Creative."

What's your favourite time of day and why?
Dusk. Because it is a quiet and relaxing time for self-contemplation.