Innovators Network

Kohei Nishiyama (西山浩平) - CEO & Founder, elephant design co., ltd.

Nishiyama is the inventor of the Design To Order (DTO) system. The DTO system reduces the risk of new product development by allowing manufacturers to wait until the number of orders for a product reaches the break-even point. These transactions are done on the company website:

Along with a colleague from design school, he founded elephant design co. to commercialize the DTO system in 1997. Prior to founding elephant design, he was a consultant at McKinsey & Company where primarily handled new product development projects. One notable project was the wireless telecom carrier. His mission was to identify business opportunities for a client’s data-transmission technology, which at that time was completely new to the market. It is now one of the client’s core businesses.

Muji, a popular Japanese design lifestyle retailer, began to use DTO in 2002. Products developed by this system rank in the top 3 in sales revenue. Because of his expertise in product development, Nishiyama is now a design consultant for companies such as Sony. For the past three years, he has been a judge for the Good Design Award Committee, which is organized by the government.

Nishiyama lived in South America until age 19. He is a graduate of the University of Tokyo and the Kuwasawa Design School, where he studied product design. He is the recipient of several design awards, including the Kuwasawa Design Award (2001).


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