Binnovative Launches NASA Space Apps Challenge 2016 Event Page (NASA ISAC 2016 イベント特設サイトオープン!)

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NASA International Space App Challenge(ISAC) is an international mass collaborative hackathon focused on space exploration that takes place over 48-hours in cities around the world. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A PROGRAMMER to take part in this event. Held on April 23-24, 2016, the event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant open-source solutions applicable to both life on Earth and life in space. NASA expects to see wide scope of talents: programmers, designers, artists, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, developers, and anyone with creative mind. Click here for more info and to register for info-session on 4/2!   NASA International Space App Challenge(ISAC)は世界130か所以上で同時開催されるハッカソンです。このグローバルコラボレーションイベントで、参加者は、土日の二日間、27時間をかけてNASAが呈示する課題を解決します。本イベントの目的は、各個人のスキル、アイディア、NASAから一般開示されたデータ等を活用して、宇宙開発や人類の発展に対し、有益となるソリューションを創出すること、また、各国の参加者が国際社会の一員として協力し合いながら、迫りくる人類への課題やチャレンジを解決する糸口を見つけだすことにあります。今年は、Aeronautics, Space Station, Solar System, Technology, Earth, Journey to Marsのテーマの中で,様々なチャレンジが呈示されます。今年は4/23-4/24の二日間にわたって開催されます。 イベント情報、登録はこちらから!

Predicting 3 Business Trends in Japan in 2016 / 2016年に注目を浴びる3つのビジネストレンド(By Kelvin)

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11/28/2015 By Kelvin Ha (Japanese follows. 和訳は英語の後にあります。) Because of where I work and where my family is, I get to travel frequently between US and Asia. In turn, these experiences allow me to bridge different perspectives, and recognize distinct patterns in how cultures approach business problems. As the year of 2015 concludes, I believe more Japanese companies will transition to dedicate increasing resources in the following areas. No matter if you are an entrepreneur starting a new business, or an innovator from within a company, these are the three trends I think are beneficial to be prepared for. Demand Generation experts will be in great demand The Abe administration has been pushing different measures relentlessly to ensure spending occurs at the household level. Classic Keynesian economic theory argues spending kicked start from the government will eventually flow to families, initiating a subsequent multiplier to revitalize the economy. Additional policies from Abe, including quantitative easing, have been in place as well. The caveat here is that Japanese citizens have a higher propensity to save than consume. Japanese businesses and the government have however been smart to encourage purchases. From limited edition items to time sales, to even “premium merchandise coupons” which many have lined up to purchase, we see Japanese responding favorably to time and quantity restricted tactics.   To ensure household spends the yen, businesses have to transition from one-off based stimuli to around-the-calendar planning. In the US, there are companies with whole teams dedicated for the function of demand generation. If you consider a customer purchase journey, the function should be baked around and across the funnel. In the wake of economic recovery, Japanese businesses which dedicate resources to demand generation can strategically position themselves to first share the result. Companies will dedicate more time with the 2Ms (message and metric) as brands transition from selling products to experiences As part of the attempt to generate more demand, businesses are transitioning from selling just products, to instead a lifestyle, or experience. Various American brands have seen success, including Patagonia, Airbnb, and Nike. When consumers ring at checkout, they are not just purchasing a down jacket, a night of stay, or a pair of shoes. They are buying into part of the ecosystem, which combined with other products in the portfolio, weave into a higher aspiration of a lifestyle. To brands, this would mean enhanced upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Walking around Harajuku this summer I observe more clothing stores no longer just sell clothes. Coincidentally, they start selling coffee, furniture, and household items. Brands like BEAMS, JOURNAL STANDARD (BAYCREW’S GROUP) are now aspiring you to not only buy their clothes, but also into their crafted ideals of life. Bloomberg quoted Fred Thompon, retail practice leader at marketing company LoyaltyOne, in saying millennial consumers are “increasingly responding to blended retail and entertainment experiences.” Brands should consider two things as they contemplate to expand their offerings. The first is reason to believe. From existing products, what makes the original quality (composed of both tangible craftsmanship and intangible service) transferrable to the new areas of the portfolio? In particular, customers may already believe you manufacture superior clothing, but simultaneously they also know clothing and furniture making ask for very different skillsets. A clear messaging strategy has to be in place. Just because other industries, or brands experience success, your portfolio may or may not be optimized to make this change. Apart from messaging, metrics is another area these brands should focus on. The transition to include furniture and coffee in an existing clothing store may mean implications on margin and turnover. What, therefore, will the new metrics be to monitor success? Messaging and metrics as the 2Ms will accompany businesses as they consider transitioning to sell experiences with the start of 2016. Space sharing in traditional retail environment will continue Land prices in Japan has only gone up higher in recent years. To combat, we see companies beginning to embark in space sharing. TSUTAYA and Starbucks, as well as Uniqlo and BIC CAMERA have been starters in Shinjuku. While traditional one building approach provides a one-stop shopping experience, with even extra spaces for exhibition and interactions, space sharing in central locations enlists immediate cost-savings and an increased exposure. The above approach is itself a double-edged sword. As two brands converge, impressions from one extend to influence the other. Picking which to partner with will be a strategic decision as brands go back to examine their value proposition. What brand, when positioned together, can generate synergies greater than the sum of both? Are there characteristics from a certain brand which juxtaposed to yours will serve to complement what you are selling? What can your brand share with the other in return? The intention of space sharing may originally be for rent sharing. Yet, companies should pivot the discussion to also consider opportunities. While a more competitive real estate market can be a challenge, how can you create synergies through this very constraint in the first place?   About Kelvin Ha Kelvin Ha started a web-based boutique marketing studio “Spreat” at fifteen, helping partners including Unicef, Usher’s New Look, and MTV Show “The Burried Life” tell their stories to millennials like himself. Now part of the Brand Strategy and Innovation division at Adobe, Kelvin uses creativity, data and research to support product brands in the Creative Cloud ecosystem, from Photoshop to mobile app Capture CC. Outside of work, Kelvin values time building non-profit programs, with “311JEA,” “The Boston Bean Project,” and “Books For a Cause” as interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, BostInno, and HKBN. With Binnovative, Kelvin is launching the San Francisco chapter in 2016 as continuous effort to foster entrepreneurial exchange between Japan and Silicon Valley. Kelvin now travels between San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Japan. Learn more about his thoughts at Kelvinha.com. *Views above my own and do not reflect past or current employment.     (Japanese) アメリカで働いていており、家族がアジアにいるので、よくアメリカとアジアを行き来する。こうもよく大陸を行き来していると、それぞれの土地によって違うビジネスへのアプローチがよく見えてくるものである。今回は、2015年も終わろうとする今、これから更に多くの日系企業がリソースを投入していくだろうと思われる3つのエリアをご紹介する。以下が、私の思うビジネスパーソンなら気をつけておきたい3つのトレンドである。 デマンド・ジェネレーションの専門家が重宝される 安倍政権が、ありとあらゆる策を講じて消費を促していることはもうご存知だろう。ケインズ経済学の法則に則れば、政府による支出の増加は、いずれ家計の消費を促し、スパイラル的に景気を回復させるはずである。また安倍政権は大胆な金融緩和政策も講じている。 ここで問題になるのが、日本人の貯蓄は消費を上回る傾向がある点だが、安倍政権及び日本企業はこのところ効果的な対策を講じているように思う。最近のトレンドを見ると、限定版商品、タイムセール、特典付き商品券など、時間・量に制限のかかった商品に対して、消費者は特に購買意欲を促されているようだ。 ただし、継続的な消費を促すためには、年間を通した効果的なマーケティングが重要となってくる。アメリカでは、すでに多くの会社がデマンド・ジェネレーション(需要創出)担当のチームを構え、これに取り組んでいる。消費するまでの過程を「旅(パーチェスジャーニー)」と考えれば、その大切さがわかるだろう。 日本経済が回復する中、デマンド・ジェネレーションへ戦略的投資を有効に行うことができる企業は、業績を一気に伸ばすことができるだろう。 「モノを売る」から「体験を売る」へ、企業における2つのMに対する投資の増加 需要拡大への戦略として、多くの企業が「モノを売る」だけにとどまらず、包括的な体験、ライフスタイルを消費者に提供しようと試みている。この戦略を通じて成功を収めた企業の一例として、アメリカでは、パタゴニア、AirBnB、ナイキなどが挙げられるだろう。消費者は、ただ単に一着のジャケットを買ったり、一日部屋に泊まったり、一足の靴を購入しているわけではない。彼らは、その一つの消費を通じて、その先にあるライフスタイルそのものへ足を踏み入れているのだ。売り手側からすれば、ここから自社他製品購入へと繋げることができるのだ。 私がこの夏原宿を歩いていて気がついたのは、多くのアパレルショップが、洋服以外の商品を売っていたということである。店頭には、コーヒー、家具、またその他家庭用品が並ぶ。BEAMS、JOURNAL STANDARD(BAYCREW’S GROUP)などのブランドは、消費者に対して理想のライフスタイルそのものをプロデュースしようとしているのである。 ブルームバーグは、LoyaltyOneの小売セクター部長のフレッド・トンプソンが「ミレニアル世代は、商品と体験の融合を求めている」と述べたことに注目している。 これらのことを踏まえ、サービスの拡大を考える上で、企業は以下のことに注意すべきであるう。一つ目は、「信じる理由」である。これまで培ってきたブランド力と商品の質は、これから拡大を目指す分野に合うものであるか。例えば、すでに高品質が認められているアパレルブランドがあったとしよう。しかし消費者は、アパレル製造と家具製造には全く違ったノウハウが必要であることも認識しているので、アパレル企業が家具販売にも守備範囲を広げる場合、そこには明確なメッセージがなくてはならないのだ。ここは十分に気をつけたいポイントである。 ブランディングにおいては、メッセージングの他に、メトリック(測定方法)にも注意したい。アパレルショップにコーヒーや家具のラインアップを追加することで、ショップ全体としての来客の回転数や利益率に何らかの影響が及ぼされる可能性がある。そこで、業績を数字として分析するために、どんな新しい測定基準を設ける必要があるのか?。 「商品」から「ライフスタイル」へと「売る対象」が変わる中、メッセージングとメトリックには注意したい。 今後も続くであろう共有空間の活用 近年、日本の地価は上昇の一歩をたどるのみである。それに対して、テナントを共有するといったビジネスモデルも出始めている。新宿には、ツタヤとスターバックス、ユニクロとビックカメラがそれぞれ共同店舗を構えている。 …

Binnovative organized Business Plan Competition 2015 (ビジネスプランコンペティション2015を開催しました)

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(Japanese follows. 日本語は英語の後にあります。) Fall marks the season for Binnovative’s annual business plan competition. This exciting competition brings together Japanese and non-Japanese participants in Boston, to propose solutions to Japanese companies wanting to expand in the US. This year, the organization collaborated with the newly opened Ramen shop, Santouka Ramen in Harvard Square, to help expand their business in the Boston area. Santouka was founded in 1988 in Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. In order to appeal their traditional cooking to the local palate, they needed ideas to situate themselves in the Boston food scene. Binnovative offered to help by organizing a Business Plan Competition. Teams of students and professionals from different backgrounds and cultures living in Boston, proposed new marketing ideas, products or strategies for Santouka to implement, in order to better localize itself. The Santouka Business plan challenge kicked off on September 19 and lasted two weeks culminating in a final presentation day on 10/3. A team building session was held for like minded participants to group together and participate in the competition. During the competition, the teams visited Santouka’s kitchen and got a behind-the-scenes look into what goes into Santouka’s celebrated ramen. Participants tasted the ramen and learned why the company has been so successful for many years. They also asked executives and employees questions to validate business ideas. Finally, on presentation day, 43 participants in 8 teams presented their business plan proposals to a panel of  judges composed of various industry professionals, fellow participants and volunteers.  A panel of five judges was tasked with selecting the winner of the event. It included Ms.Kerianne Panos - an International Communications Advisor and Coach, Ms.Alice Stein - a Brand marketer and digital strategist, Mr.Kohei Fujita - the Marketing & New Shop Development Manager for Santouka Boston, Mr.Walter Foster - a business lawyer in Boston, and Ms.Kiyoko Morita - a Japanese language lecturer at Tufts University. Due to their deep relationship with both Boston and Japan, the judges were able to objectively pick the winning idea based on practicality of the idea, deference to Japanese culture, and local appeal. On presentation day, eight upbeat teams presented radically different ideas to the panel. The teams thought up ideas such as design, marketing and social media strategies, new promotional ideas, ways to stimulate brand engagement with campaigns and mascots, and suggestions for food trucks or flagship stores. Team Sancha took 1st place for the overall Santouka Business plan challenge for their Japanese “Yatai” style food truck idea, while team Omoto was voted People's Choice winner for their idea of incentivizing customers to visit during non-peak hours. Santouka has agreed, as part of the first place prize, to implement team Sancha’s idea. Through this competition, Binnovative was able to create opportunities for local American participants to gain exposure to the Japanese culture as well as for Japanese participants to learn from the American entrepreneurial mindset. The diversity of ideas presented in this competition, feedback from participants, and positive impact on Santouka has assured Binnovative that its goal was met. So keep an eye out for Santouka’s very own food truck and Binnovative’s next event. Comments from Judges We interviewed to two judges out of the five. Ms.Alice Stein - a Brand marketer and digital strategist, and Mr.Kohei Fujita - the Marketing & New Shop Development Manager for Santouka Boston 1. About each team’s presentation “Each team presented a high quality, realistic business plan that can be put into practice. I hope to utilize my experience at this event through my future business career at Santouka.”(Mr.Fujita) "It was obvious the eight teams who participated took the competition very seriously and prepared some innovative recommendations for Santouka Ramen." (Ms.Stein)  2. About the winning team (team Sancha) The winning team had a highly feasible plan with in-depth research. The team presented a rental food truck instead of purchased one. This enables us to implement the plan easily and temporarily, which is a huge plus for a small business like Santouka.(Mr.Fujita) "The best teams had clearly been out in the field and could back their recommendations with market and consumer research. The winning team represented by Showa University won based on their thorough analysis, research and easy-to-implement recommendations. ”(Ms.Stein) 3. About the overall event I thank you for making this event a such fascinating competition, with participants from various backgrounds. Event operation was very smooth, and I was able to focus and enjoy listening to the presentations. (Mr.Fujita) “Binnovative stretches the international entrepreneur to new heights by exposing them to business challenges typically handled by senior executives at multinational companies. Eriko and Binnovative team has done a great job with organizing a business plan competition that explicitly addresses the challenges of Japanese businesses expanding into the US market." (Ms.Stein) Comment from winning team (Team Sancha) “I am very excited to win the first business plan competition I ever participated. Three members of our team had great teamwork, and we worked very hard for two weeks. It was also great how I got to meet other participants throughout the competition. I really enjoyed the competition, starting from the kick-off day, then Santouka visit, and ending with the final presentation. I appreciate Binnovative staff for creating welcoming and supportive vibe throughout the competition. I also learned a lot from other teams’ presentations. I cannot wait to see Santouka food truck in Boston! “(Maho Yanagisawa, Showa Boston Institute)  “It’s starting to sink in myself that we won Binnovative Business Plan Competition 2015. Not everything went perfectly, but we did our best. I enjoyed meeting people from different backgrounds through this competition, and the experience was precious. I also learned how far we can go by working the absolute hardest. I am excited to build on my experience at Binnovative Business Plan Competition 2015 and go further! “(Yuri Ishiguro, Showa Boston Institute) “I learned a lot through participating in Binnovative Business Plan Competition 2015. I joined the competition because my friends invited me to their team, and did not know what I was getting ...

不完全ニッポン-NASA Hackathon が示すヒントとは/Incomplete Japan: What the NASA Hackathon Suggests to Japanese Society (by Shunta)

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10/18/2015 by Shunta Muto (English follows. 英語は日本語の後にあります。) 今年、Binnovative主催で行われたNASA International Space Apps Challenge。NASA から与えられた様々な課題に対し、27時間以内に解決案を見出すというハッカソンです。ハッカソンというものに参加したことがない僕は、果たして各チームが時間内に仕上げることができるのか、不安でした。イベント中はスタッフとして駆け回り、迎えた最終プレゼンテーション当日。とにかく驚きました。各チームが自分たちの作ったソフトウェアや試作品を披露しあうのですが、ユニークなアイディアが出るわ出るわ。会場の撮影を任されていた僕はビデオカメラ片手に、ただただ感動していました。 近年、「イノベーションが生まれない」と言われる日本。そこには、高度経済成長期からバブルにかけて一直線に目指してきた「完璧な日本」像が大きな壁となって見え隠れしているように思います。目まぐるしく交錯する情報や、秒単位で変化を遂げ加速していく世界を目の前に、完璧な答えを求め足踏みしてしまう。内向き志向、消極的と揶揄される「さとり世代」の僕たち若者の背景には、そんな社会の形があるのではないでしょうか。 しかし、今回のハッカソンはそれに対しての小さなヒントではないでしょうか。大会中、各チームが100%満足できる解決法を提示できたわけではない。途中でパソコンや機械のトラブルに見舞われたチームもいた。日本とアメリカで結成されるミックスチームは、時差やネット回線などの壁もあった。それでも、最終プレゼンテーション当日には、しっかりとモノになっていたのです。調達できる材料、時間、スペースなど、いくつもの制限がある中で自分たちだけのユニークな答えを堂々と提示してきた。自分のプロジェクトに多少の欠陥や弱点があろうとも、参加者達は達成感と自信で満ちているように見えた。彼らが大会中に起こした小さなイノベーションの数々は、考える前にとにかくやってみるという、「完璧を追い求めない姿勢」が生み出したものではないでしょうか。Binnovativeの一員としてイベントに関わる中で、そして一大学生として、そう感じました。 挑戦する者。それを推し進め、発信していく者。二つが一体となったこのイベントは、Binnovativeが目指す社会の形を表しているのではないでしょうか。「完全」を目指す代わりに、常に自ら新しいものを創り出していく者たち。それを応援し、発信していける社会。単なる理想とは承知しながらも、そんな「不完全なニッポン」の方が皆さんもワクワクしませんか? (English) This year, Binnovative organized the NASA International Space Apps Challenge on April. In this global mass-collaborative event, participants spent 27 continuous hours solving challenges presented by NASA. Since it was my first time helping to organize the hackathon, I was worried that teams would not be able to finish their projects within the time limit. After bustling about for 27 hours, finally the time  came for final presentations by each team. Well, to put it simply, I was very, very impressed; not only because each team finished the project within the time limit, but also because of the unique and creative ideas produced by each team. Amazed by the original prototypes and software applications that each team presented, I could only stand still with a camcorder in my hand (recording was one of my tasks) and watch each presentation go by. For many decades, Japan has not been recognized as an innovative country. During the post-war economic period, Japanese companies achieved great success by focusing on quality and perfection, over creativity. Today, businesses in Japan still cling to that model of success instead of embracing the new model of success in the global economy through innovative thinking. In a hopeless search for a “perfect” solution in a constantly transforming and accelerating world, society stands motionless and becomes bewildered by the enormous stream of information. Current Japanese youth generation is often bantered as “Satori Generation,” characterized by an absence of ambition and enthusiasm. Perhaps, hidden behind such generation is a society that rejects any risk or challenge to be taken, in a fear to give away “perfection” that Japan has aimed to build up to this day. However, from my experience as a college student and working as staff at Binnovative, I am inspired to think; could this hackathon be a hint for the current Japanese society? During the hackathon, none of the teams were able to deliver a perfect solution for the challenge. Teams had technological challenges, as well as problems with the working environment.. The mixed team, composed of participants from Japan and Boston, had internet connection problems and had to overcome the 13-hour time difference between Boston and Tokyo venues. However, despite limited space, time, and resources, the team successfully produced an innovation at the end. Instead of holding the team back, these limits forced the participants to become proactive in taking challenges and risks, which ultimately led to unique and creative ideas. If the participants had insisted on pursuing an exact, “perfect” solution, the 27 hours would have passed without any progress. Hence, regardless of whether the project was 100% completed, participants seemed to have a great sense of accomplishment and confidence toward seemingly small innovations that they produced. By facilitating the participants to become proactive in taking risks and challenges, the event represented a society that Binnovative aims to foster: society with people who constantly strive to invest in new and creative ideas, in an exchange for a satisfaction with a given solution: society that encourages and acknowledges those fearless people. You may say that such society is highly idealistic. However, wouldn’t you be excited to see such an “incomplete Japan”?

Binnovative Hosted Social Entrepreneurship Workshop with Japanese High School and College Students(日本の高校・大学生向けに、社会起業についてのワークショップを開催)

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(English follows) Binnovativeはソーシャルインパクトを目指して活動をしている。所謂「ソーシャルアントレプレナー」というカテゴリーのアントレプレナーである。 アントレプレナーシップという言葉の考え方の理解が日米で違うことが多い事実は以前ブログで記載したのだが、ソーシャルアントレプレナーという言葉は、また違った意味で日米で考え方が違うと感じる。 ソーシャルアントレプレナー=社会起業は、社会問題を解決することを誓った形での起業である。日本では、ソーシャルアントレプレナーはお金を儲けてはいけない(ビジネスというよりボランティア活動)、という印象があるのだが、アメリカではソーシャルアントレプレナーも立派なビジネスである。顧客にプロダクトやサービスを提供する中で、その手法のなかにソーシャルインパクトを組み込む。例えば同じ衣服を売るのでも、アフリカの貧しい土地に工場を立ててその土地に雇用を増やすということをすることで、買い手からすると買うにあたって社会貢献の一端を担うという意味=ソーシャルインパクトを与えている。その衣服は通常他のブランドと同等に競争力があるのがアメリカだ。 この夏、Binnovativeは幾つかの団体とコラボレーションして、日本の高校生、大学生にレクチャーを行わせていただく機会があった。我々は、Binnovativeが目指しているものをシェアする手段として、ソーシャルアントレプレナーについてのレクチャー及びワークショップを行った。 常に参加者にハンズオンで経験し、成功体験を得てもらうことがBinnovative流であり、今回はレクチャー後に参加者全員にグループ毎のソーシャルアントレプレナーのビジネスアイデアを考えて発表してもらった。 各々のビジネスアイデアを形にするためのツールとして、リーンキャンバスというフレームワークを使った。これはBinnovativeのFoundersがMBAのアントレプレナーシップのクラスで学んだもので、アイデアを体系化するのにとても優れたツールである。 セッションwith昭和ボストン 7月19日に昭和ボストンの学生さんを対象にセッションを行った。このセッションは、昭和ボストンの有志団体「Showa Dream Factory」の5名と、音楽団体「Women of the World」とのコラボレーションで実現した。同級生にもっと自分のしたいことを実現しよう!と働き掛け活動を行っているShowa Dream FactoryをBinnovativeがサポートすべく本セッション開催を決定した。Women of the Worldのリーダーの植田あゆみさんがCircle Singingという方法でブレーンストーミングをリード。日本人にとってはなかなか苦手なブレーンストーミングだが、リズムにのって思いついたことを自然に体の外に出していくことでどんどんアイデアを出すことが出来た。 リーンキャンバスのレクチャーの後参加者の学生はチーム毎に解決したい社会問題を話し合い、社会貢献度の高いソーシャルアントレプレナーシップアイデアのピッチが行われた。 セッションwith高校生 GPI社の主催する日本の高校生のアメリカツアーの一コマとして、 鴎友学園の高校生(8月3日月曜日)と渋谷学園渋谷及び渋谷学園幕張の高校生(8月5日水曜日)対象にソーシャルアントレプレナーシップワークショップを行った。 リーンキャンバスの説明の後、参加者の高校生はソーシャルアントレプレナーシップのビジネスアイデアを考えてリーンキャンバスに落とし込む作業を行った。リーンキャンバスのコンセプトを理解するところからビジネスアイデアの発表まで3時間程度と限られた時間であったが、全チームが素晴らしいビジネスアイデアを考案して英語でピッチを行った。 8月3日のセッションでは、Showa Dream Factoryのメンバーが鴎友学園の高校生のブレーンストーミング及びリーンキャンバス作成のワークショップのサポートで参加してくれた。7月19日のセッションで取得した知識と経験を既に生かしてしっかり高校生のグループワークを上手くサポートしている姿を見て、 我々の試みに対する手ごたえを感じると同時に彼女たちの短期間での成長を嬉しく思った。 昭和ボストン、また高校生のセッションにて、参加者全員が限られた時間内でアイデアを出してリーンキャンバスに纏め上げてピッチをするところを見て、また参加者のセッション後の達成感に溢れた面々を見て、Binnovative staffは自分たちが目指しているものが多少なりとも達成されていると実感した。 (English) Binnovative aims to create social impact through its activity. We consider ourselves social entrepreneurs. It was previously noted in our blog that the perception of the term “entrepreneurship” generally differs in the U.S. and Japan — the perception of the term “social entrepreneurship” also differs, but in a slightly different manner compared to that of “entrepreneurship,” in the U.S. and Japan. The goal of social entrepreneurs is to solve social issues through their business. In Japan, people generally believe that social entrepreneurs are not supposed to make a profit, but in the U.S. social entrepreneurs are expected to make a profit just like other entrepreneurs. The difference is that their businesses create social impacts as well as deliver products and/or services that consumers look for. For example, when producing clothes, one can build a factory in an underprivileged region of Africa, which will create employment opportunities for locals. By buying the clothes made in the factory in Africa, consumers are helping to create a social impact. In the U.S., such products are usually as competitive, if not more competitive, than conventional ones. This summer, we had the opportunity to host several lectures and workshop sessions for Japanese high school and college students. At Binnovative workshops, the participants always engage in hands-on activities — for the ones conducted this summer, the students created and pitched their own social entrepreneurial business ideas after listening to a lecture by Binnovative staff. In addition, during these workshops, we introduced a method called Lean Canvas, an excellent way to organize business ideas and put them down in writing. Workshop with Showa Boston Students On Sunday, July 19th we hosted a social entrepreneurship workshop for students from Showa Boston (the Boston campus of Showa Women’s University in Japan) in collaboration with Showa Dream Factory, a student organization at Showa Boston, and Women of the World, a Boston-based international ensemble led by Ms. Ayumi Ueda. The participants brainstormed business ideas using a method called “Circle Singing,” which incorporates singing and body percussion into brainstorming of ideas. While keeping in tempo, the participants were able to come up with many ideas. Then the participants formed groups of 3-4 students and discussed a social issue in which each group was particularly interested, after which they created and presented business ideas that tackled the social issue of their interest. Workshop with Japanese High School Students We also hosted a social entrepreneurship workshop for two groups of high school students from Japan, one for the students from Ohyu Gakuen on Monday, August 3rd and another for Shibuya Gakuen on Wednesday, August 5th, as one part of their school trip to the U.S. led by GPI US. We covered lectures on social entrepreneurship and Lean Canvas as well as creating and pitching the students’ social entrepreneurship ideas in a compact three hour workshop. Every team managed to pitch amazing business ideas in English at the end of the session! Moreover, for the workshop session with Ohyu students, the members of Showa Dream Factory assisted the high school students with brainstorming business ideas and creating Lean Canvas presentations. It was very exciting to see them utilize the knowledge and skills they learned at the previous workshop on July 19th to help the high school students. We were very impressed by the quality of business ideas and pitches that each group made at each of the three workshops. Looking at the bright faces of the participants flush with a sense of accomplishment, we feel assured that Binnovative has certainly been making progress in achieving its mission.