The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan Kansai Business Programs Committee has launched a new webinar program, presented in Japanese, entitled the Technology Series, which focuses on the intersection of tech and leadership. Leaders who are committed to the challenging theme of connecting cutting-edge technology with business to make a better world are invited to share their insights.

For the first session, held on June 5, Dr. Shotaro Funai of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University explained his cutting-edge research on artificial intelligence. He was also interviewed in the June issue of The ACCJ Journal.

For the second installment, on June 24, we were pleased to welcome Dr. Masashi Matsunaga, senior consultant at Oxentia Ltd., a global innovation company started by the University of Oxford.

Dr. Takehiro Aoki, a member of the ACCJ-Kansai Business Committee and an employee of ACCJ President’s Circle Member Eli Lilly Japan K.K., contributed as a planner and the moderator of the event, which was supported by the Life Science Innovation Network Japan (LINK-J).

Matsunaga, who resides in Oxford, England, is an active figure in the Japanese innovation ecosystem and is an advisor for the Medical Innovation Support Office (MEDISO), a Japanese government-funded program supporting medical startups. He also works closely with LINK-J and promotes collaboration between UK and Japanese startups and investors to unlock the commercialization potential of cutting-edge science and technology research.

The coronavirus pandemic has seriously curbed trade and travel, impacted logistics, and caused a severe slowdown in the global economy. While these are certainly negatives, the downturn has had a positive influence on the innovation ecosystem of startups.

In his presentation, Matsunaga spoke about the impact of Covid-19 on fundraising and the exit strategies of startups, as well as the merger-and-acquisition (M&A) strategies of large corporations. It is predicted that, as a result of the coronavirus, the move towards shorter-term corporate acquisition focused on viability will accelerate.

He also mentioned that one of the differences between the innovation environments in Japan and the UK is the ability of startups to survive change by “having a strategy and being able to say no.” Examples given of how the crisis is spurring innovative operations include regenerative medicine startups, which continue to grow while maintaining strength and flexibility—even in these challenging times.

Matsunaga speaking at a LINK-J networking reception in 2019.

Matsunaga also introduced new measures for corporate open innovation that allow discovery and evaluation of unique tech­nology startups in a timely manner, and effectively advance alliances, partnerships, and M&A possibilities.

The success of accelerating intraventure business and how to develop new business inside the company in a short period of time is another point he touched on.

Many of the 135 participants actively asked questions about the first step to promoting open innovation, as well as success stories of building the startup ecosystem in rural areas of the UK. Matsunaga explained the UK tax system and national strategy while presenting a case study of a company located in an isolated area that moved to Cambridge to develop a product through the ecosystem there.

During the Q&A section, Matsunaga shared his future plans and how he has retained a policy of being a scientist throughout his career.

The third session of the ACCJ-Kansai Technology Series is scheduled for July 30, once again in collaboration with LINK-J, and more will be held online in the months to come.

ACCJ-Kansai Business Programs Committeeでは今年からの新しい取り組みとして、テクノロジーとリーダーシップに焦点を当てたテクノロジーシリーズを開始しました。「テクノロジーとビジネスを繋げることで社会課題を解決し、よりよい社会を作る」という大きなテーマに取り組むリーダーシップの実像に迫ります。第1回は6月5日に沖縄科学技術大学院大学(OIST)の船井正太郎博士を招き、AIをテーマに対談を行いました。

今回は第2弾として6月24日に英オックスフォード大学発のグローバルイノベーション企業 Oxentia の 松永昌之博士をゲストにお招きし、グローバルスタートアップとオープンイノベーションをテーマにウェビナーを行いました。モデレーターとしてKansai Business Programs Committeeメンバーで日本イーライリリー株式会社の青木健洋氏が企画から実行まで携わりました。





Takehiro Aoki is a member of the ACCJ-Kansai Business Committee and part of the Eli Lilly Japan K.K. team.