Described as “Mr. Strategy” worldwide, Dr. Kenichi Ohmae is regularly sought out as a public speaker and management consultant. Ohmae, according to the Financial Times of London, is “Japan’s only management guru.”

In 1994, The Economist selected him one of five management gurus in the world. As an author he has published over 100 books, many of which are devoted to business and socio-political analyses.

Ohmae has bigger concerns on his mind than business. He worries about the governance of the new continent, about a new sort of Cold War, fought by businesses rather than governments, and about the education of our citizens for this new world.

Who is Kenichi Ohmae

Kenichi Ohmae (born February 21, 1943) is one of the world’s leading business and corporate strategists. He is known as Mr. Strategy and has developed the 3C’s Model.

For a period of twenty-three years, Dr. Ohmae was a senior partner in McKinsey & Company, Inc., the international management consulting firm. As a co-founder of its strategic management practice, he has served companies in a wide spectrum of industries, including industrial and consumer electronics, financial institutions, telecommunications, office equipment, photographic equipment, industrial machinery, food, rubber, and chemicals.

Born in 1943 in Kitakyushu, he earned a BS from Waseda University, an MS from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and a doctorate in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and subsequently worked as a senior design engineer for Hitachi.

He then joined McKinsey & Company, becoming a senior partner, developing and running the company’s Japan operations for a number of years. He gained an unrivaled knowledge and sensitivity to developments in a wide range of business sectors.

Ohmae has written a number of books, including The End of the Nation State and The Borderless World.

Kenichi Ohmae now lives in Tokyo with his wife and two sons.

Contribution of Kenichi Ohmae to Strategy

Kenichi Ohmae made his mark twenty years ago with his book on corporate strategy. It is still a collection of good sense and clear advice, even though some of the examples may now seem a bit dated.

Successful business strategies, he says in “The Mind of the Strategist”, do not come from rigorous analysis but from a thought process which is basically creative and intuitive rather than rational.

Having written what many people regarded as the bible of corporate strategy, Kenichi Ohmae moved on to the changing shape of the world of business.

His thinking on these issues has been nicely brought together in his latest book, which he has called ‘The Invisible Continent’. The Invisible Continent is the world in which businesses now operate, which is like a new, just discovered continent.

In the Invisible Continent there are four Dimensions:

  • 1) the Visible Dimension – physical things to buy and
  • make

  • 2) the Borderless World – inevitable globalization
  • 3) the Cyber Dimension – the Internet, mobile phones
  • 4) the Dimension of High Multiples – exaggerated values put on some stocks by the stock market
  • But Ohmae has bigger concerns on his mind than business. He worries about the governance of the new continent, about a new sort of Cold War, fought by businesses rather than governments, and about the education of our citizens for this new world.

    The 3C’s model of Kenichi Ohmae

    The 3C’s Model is a strategical look at the factors needed for success. It was developed by Kenichi Ohmae, a business and corporate strategist.

    The 3C’s model points out that a strategist should focus on three key factors for success. In the construction of a business strategy, three main players must be taken into account:

    • A. The Corporation
    • B. The Customer
    • C. The Competitors

    Only by integrating these three C’s (Corporation, Customer, Competitors) in a strategic triangle, a sustained competitive advantage can exist. Ohmae refers to these key factors as the three C’s or strategic triangle.


    A favorite phrase of Japanese business planners is hito-kane-mono, standing for people, money and things.

    They believe that streamlined corporate management is achieved when these three critical resources are in balance without surplus or waste.

    For example: Cash over and beyond what competent people can intelligently expend is wasted. Of the three critical resources, funds should be allocated last.

    The corporation should firstly allocate management talent, based on the available mono (things): plant, machinery, technology, process know-how and functional strength.

    Once these hito (people) have developed creative and imaginative ideas to capture the business’s upward potential, the kane (money) should be given to the specific ideas and programs generated by the individual managers.

    Books and Articles by Kenichi Ohmae

    He has also contributed numerous articles to major publications (e.g., Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Foreign Affairs, New York Times).

    Kenichi Ohmae at Our Bookshop

    • The Mind of Strategist (McGraw-Hill),
    • Triad Power (Free Press),
    • Beyond National Borders (Dow Jones Irwin),
    • The Borderless World (Harper Business),
    • The End of the Nation State (Free Press),
    • The Evolving Global Economy (editor, Harvard Business School Press),
    • The Invisible Continent
    • Four Strategic Imperatives of New Economy(HarperCollins/Nicholas Brealey Publishing).