My first seven years of post-doctoral research (1985-1992) had two core themes: (1) the relationship between technological change and competitiveness; and (2) the evaluation of British government initiatives to foster a more competitive IT industry through knowledge generation across industry and academia. At the time, Japan was stunning the world with its capacity to promote advanced manufacturing technology and set new standards for high-quality, high-reliability products; but outsiders typically knew little about what lay behind Japan’s public profile. My seven-year period working in Japan (1992-1999) provided a rare opportunity to better understand the processes that underpinned Japan’s miracle growth and subsequent stagnation. Along the way, I was helped by some influential figures. My Science and Technology Agency Fellowship (1992-1993) was directed by Professor Ikujiro Nonaka and I became closely involved with research for ‘The Knowledge-Creating Company’ (Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H., Oxford University Press, 1995), which has re-ignited international interest in the nature of tacit knowledge. At RIKEN, I worked on Japanese science policy and related matters under the direction of Professor Akito Arima, who later served as Japan’s Minister for Education. Since joining the Open University Business School in 1999, my research interests have focussed on 'knowing how to make a difference' - the practice of power - in different institutional contexts. This builds on my experience of Japan (as an instructive counterfactual to Anglo-Saxon practice) and has benefited greatly from collaboration with Professor Stewart Clegg at the University of Technology, Sydney.