Innovators Network



Lecture: Table for Two - Connecting the world by sharing a meal
July 21, 2010

What if you could do something good for yourself and do something even better for someone else with the effortless of choice of what to eat? That is the simple but powerful logic behind Table for Two (TFT), a Tokyo-based nonprofit. TFT earns ¥20 for every healthy, TFT-designated meal sold in over 250 corporate cafeterias, restaurants, and convenience stores in Japan, which in turn is spent to subsidize nutritious lunches for school-aged children in Africa. TFT is expanding to the U.S. beginning with Columbia University and the Kitano Hotel in New York. Masa Kogure, Director of TFT International, spoke about TFT’s dual mission to fight hunger and malnutrition in developing countries and obesity and diabetes in Japan and U.S. The lecture program was moderated by Dan Chapman, Managing Director, Loan Syndicate and Sales, U.S. Bank

Public Symposia in Tokyo with Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder & CEO, Acumen Fund
April 20-24, 2010

On April 21 & 22, Japan Society and the Tokyo Foundation cosponsored two public speaking events in Tokyo for Jacqueline Novogratz, the founder and CEO of Acumen Fund and a member of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network.  At the sold out events, Jacqueline talked about how Acumen Fund, the organization she founded in 2001, seeks to break the cycle of poverty by enlisting the market and its tools to achieve long-term social change.  For a transcript of her presentation on April 21, please see the Tokyo Foundation website. Japan Society also hosted an intimate breakfast with Japanese members of the Innovators Network.  Her visit coincided with the release of the Japanese translation of her book, The Blue Sweater.

Exchange Program with Rosanne Haggerty, Founder & President, Common Ground Community
January 13-19, 2010

In January 2010, Japan Society had the privilege of hosting Rosanne Haggerty, founder and President of Common Ground Community and a member of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network, in Japan. She participated in several public forums. The first, “Regional Development in Urban Cities – Cases from the U.S. and Japan,” was co-organized with Tokyo Foundation. The Tokyo Foundation has posted a transcript of the program on their website. Rosanne was also invited to speak at Meiji University. Partnering with Professor Yasushi Aoyama, another member of the Innovators Network, Rosanne participated in a public forum at the university on “The Birth and Growth of Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S.” In a more intimate setting, Rosanne had breakfast with about 20 young social and business entrepreneurs at the Entrepreneurial Training Innovative Communities (ETIC) office. Rosanne was also the featured guest on a popular Japanese TV program “The Most Useful School in the World,” which aired on February 27.


Shibusawa Mission of Young Business Leaders 2009
November 16, 2009

In commemoration of the historic 1909 visit to the United States by Eiichi Shibusawa, considered the father of Japanese capitalism, eight emerging Japanese business leaders came to New York for one day of meetings that focused on American entrepreneurship and philanthropy.  The delegation was led by Network member Ken Shibusawa, Founder and Chairman, Commons Asset Management, Inc. and a Member of the Board of the Shibusawa Memorial Foundation.Participants were Chutatsu Aono, Founder and Former CEO, GABA Corporation; Mayumi Hachiya, President and CEO, Sakaguchi E.H. VOC Corp.; Junichiro Katayama, President, Semco Co. Ltd.; Kazuhiro Kurihara, Executive Vice President and CEO, Phoenix Associates Co. Ltd.; Kay Symonz, Chief Director of Oil Section, Shimozuma LPG Co. Ltd.; Yoko Tabata, President and CEO, Taishin Corporation; Toshiyuki Yoshimura, President, Toshimaya Corp.

INET: Innovators Network Entrepreneurial Training
November 7-15, 2009

In collaboration with Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC) and the Tokyo Foundation in Japan, Japan Society brought three young social entrepreneurs from Japan whose work focuses on education and the revitalization of regional communities to the United States to share ideas, expertise and experiences with their American counterparts. Participants were Masayuki Yamanaka, CEO, Japan Association for Educational Innovation (JAE), Shoji Akimoto, Executive Director, G-net, Chihiro Nishimoto, CEO, Japan Area Management (JAM).

Managing Disaster Recovery: International Policy and Practice

October 26-29, 2009

The U.S.-Japan Innovators Network has begun a new project to write and have published the first book on managing disaster recovery with three members from the Learning from Disaster exchange program, Yasushi Aoyama, Meiji Unversity, Ed Blakely, University of Sydney and Roland Anglin, Rutgers University. In October, Roland Anglin hosted a group of experts, with experience from around the world, for the first workshop at Rutgers University where we laid out the chapters for the book and writing responsibilities. During the second workshop, in Japan in May 2010, we will begin reviewing chapter drafts.

One Size Fits Some—An International Housing Design Symposium
September 24, 2009

In partnership with the Citizens Housing and Planning Council of New York, Japan Society hosted an international symposium to take a fresh look at space and housing standards in New York City that better reflect the needs of dynamic 21st-century households. The New York City housing industry looks toward Japan for best practices and innovative options in the design standards of smaller-sized, non-traditional housing units. Speakers included Professor Azby Brown, renowned Professor of Architectural Design at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology and Founder and Director of the Future Design Institute, ground-breaking Tokyo architect, Tomoyuki Utsumi and Innovators Network member Rosanne Haggerty, Founder and President, Common Ground Community. Architects from Barcelona, Leipzig, San Diego and Montreal also presented their work and discussed how they were responding to the needs of the populations in their respective cities

Lecture: The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World
May 12, 2009

Imagine a world where everyone has access to water, housing, health services and energy. That is the goal of Jacqueline Novogratz, a member of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network. In 2001, Novogratz started Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve global poverty. We hosted an evening to celebrate the launch of her new book The Blue Sweater, which follows her transformation from a young idealistic woman working in Africa to one of today’s most inspiring social entrepreneurs. The discussion was moderated by Justin Rockefeller, Co-founder, GenerationEngage.

Lecture: Rules of Thumb —A Global Guide to Thriving (Not Just Surviving) in Turbulent Times
April 22, 2009

Alan Webber, co-Founder of Fast Company magazine, award-winning business journalist and a member of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network, discussed about his new book, Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business without Losing Yourself. In his new book, Mr. Webber reflected on 40 years of experience as observer, participant and agent provocateur, illuminating 52 rules of thumb on what it takes to innovate and lead in these extraordinary times. Polly LaBarre, author of Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win presided.

Public Forum: Learning from Disaster: Miyakejima & New Orleans
April 18, 2009 
(Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan)

The public forum was presented as part of an exchange program, Learning from Disaster: Miyakejima and New Orleans, that brought eight Japanese on the frontline of the response to the Miyakejima volcano eruption in 2000 and eight Americans on the frontline of the response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 together to share their experiences, learn from each other and contribute to improving response to disasters in Japan, the U.S. and around the world.

When disaster strikes, failures and mistakes occur--during evacuation and relief as well as in the subsequent process of support to victims and recovery. However, disasters can also be seen as an opportunity to innovate and bring about positive change. Americans from New Orleans, representing local government and nonprofit organizations, who were directly involved in response operations on the frontlines of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, discussed their personal experiences during the hurricane and its aftermath.

Speakers were: Ed Blakely, Director, Recovery Office, City of New Orleans; Carol Bebelle, founder and Executive Director, Ashé Cultural Arts Center; Shawn Escoffery, Deputy Director, New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative; Rosanne Haggerty, founder & CEO, Common Ground Community; Martha J. Kegel, Executive Director, UNITY; Richard McCarthy, founder & Executive Director,; Vien The Nguyen, Pastor, Mary Queen of Viet Nam Church, M. von Nkosi, Director, Housing Renewal Division, Office of Recovery, City of New Orleans; and Kathy Riedlinger, Principal, Lusher Charter School. Yasushi Aoyama, Professor, Graduate School of Governance Studies, Meiji University & former Vice Governor of Tokyo, presided.  

For a summary of the 2-year exchange program, please read the report in Japanese (PDF) and in English (PDF).

Participants List (PDF)

Essay (PDF) by Richard McCarthy, co-founder and executive director of,

Learning from Disaster: Miyakejima and New Orleans is generously funded by The Ford Foundation. Additional support is provided by Japan Trade Union Confederation, Tokyo Local (Rengo Tokyo), Tokyo Consumers' Co-operative Union, and Meiji University, Research Centerfor Crisis and Contingency Management.

Public Forum: Social Design  Design+Community+Social Impact The Latest from GOOD Magazine and IDEO
February 8, 2009
(International Design Liasion Center, Tokyo, Japan)

The public forum focused on the meaning and role of social design. Max Schorr and Casey Caplowe, both Co-founders and Directors at GOOD Magazine, which was founded in 2006 and is known for its cutting edge concepts and creativity, and Valerie Casey, Leader of the Digital Design Experience at IDEO and the Founder of The Designers Accord, spoke at the symposium. The Designers Accord is a global coalition of designers, corporate leaders and educational institutions that focuses on integrating sustainability in their work. Japanese speakers, Masaaki Ikeda, Creative Director, Tokyo Changemakers and Eco Plaza, Soichi Ueda, Producer, Spaceport and Kazufumi Nagai, Art Director, HAKUHODO DESIGN introduced cases from Japan. The roundtable was an opportunity for all attendants, including the audience, to discuss design and designers now and into the future.

For a summary of the event, please read the report in Japanese (PDF) and in English (PDF).


Public Forum: A City Under Siege: Saving Kyoto’s Machiya from Destruction
November 5, 2008

Kyoto, one of the few Japanese cities to survive World War II intact, faces a different threat today. Kyoto’s machiya, traditional townhouses inhabited by merchants and craftsmen, are fast disappearing, victims of neglect and urban redevelopment. Loss of the machiya would alter the fabric of Kyoto and spell an end to a centuries-old cultural heritage on a scale not found elsewhere in Japan. Civic groups in Kyoto are scrambling to save the machiya that remain, but unlike the U.S. and Britain, Japan does not have a strong tradition of historic preservation. A group of pioneering Japanese preservationists traveled to New York to learn from the American preservation experience in an effort to deepen and broaden Kyoto’s historic preservation.

Fusae Kojima, machiya owner, President and Executive Director of Kyomachiya Revitalization Study Group; Kengo Kuma, Architect & Principal, Kengo Kuma Associates; Limbon, Professor, Ritsumeikan University; Hiroshi Mimura, President, Kyoto City Center for Community Collaboration

Ruth Abram, Founder, Lower Eastside Tenement Museum

In addition to the symposium, we organized two private workshops to discuss the following topics:
Evolution and philosophy of historic preservation in the United States
Building Financial Support for Historic Preservation

For a summary of the symposium and the workshops, please read Evolution and Philosophy (PDF), Building Financial Support (PDF) and Machiya Symposium (PDF) by Kathrine Hyde.

Lecture: Dan Pink’s Adventures in Manga
October 6, 2008

What business lessons can Americans learn from the wild world of Japanese comics? Japan Society Media Fellow and bestselling author Daniel Pink drew on his research in Japan as well as on his own efforts as a manga creator to take us inside the world of Japan’s dojinshi—amateur manga artists who remix and repurpose popular manga titles into new creations. He spoke about why these copyright-busting fans were actually helping the Japanese manga industry. He also spoke about how he got the reasoning behind Pink’s decision to create the first American business book in manga, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need.

Lecture: Lessons from a Social Entrepreneur – Using Business Methods to Solve Homelessness & Revitalize Communities
September 12, 2008
(Shinsei Bank, Tokyo, Japan)

After graduating college, Rosanne Haggerty worked as a volunteer at a church to help homeless people. When she realized her volunteer work was not going to solve homelessness, she came up with an idea. What about renovating the dilapidated hotel in Times Square and offering affordable housing to homeless people and providing them with healthcare and employment opportunities?

Today Common Ground Community, the organization she founded, provides 2000 housing units to formerly homeless and low-income people. Times Square, where she established one of the first residences for homeless people, has transformed itself dramatically in recent years. The homeless population decreased by 87 percent. Common Ground played an important role in making the area safer and revitalizing the community. Haggerty spoke about how she learned to use business skills and strategies to build her vision as a social entrepreneur for solving homelessness.

Symposia: Innovation & the Art of Future Building
May 20 & 22, 2008
(Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans)

Innovation, improvisation and collaboration are critical ingredients for recovery. New approaches to problem-solving in Japan and the United States are helping people envision a better future, whether it's a community coping with natural disaster or an individual rebounding from homelessness. These symposia explored the art of recovery from a range of different perspectives, keying off of conversations with members of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network, including Rosanne Haggerty, founder of supportive housing non-profit Common Ground Community, Kohei Nishiyama, CEO of design-to-order company elephant design, Marty Ashby, Executive Producer of MCG Jazz, and Jay Weigel, Executive/Artistic Director for the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. For a summary of the event, please read Innovation and the Art of Future Building (PDF).

Exchange Program: Learning from Disaster: Miyakejima and New Orleans, Part I
April 28–May 3, 2008  (New Orleans)

In the first part of the Learning from Disaster exchange, Japan Society, working with Professor Yasushi Aoyama, Director of and former Vice Governor of Tokyo, brought eight Japanese from local governments and nonprofit organizations who were directly involved in response operations on the frontlines of the Miyakejima volcano eruption in Japan, along with an five observers from Japan doing similar work, together with their counterparts on the frontline of the response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. During the week, participants discussed and shared their experiences on problems they faced, the knowledge, skills, and experiences they gained, and ideas on how to improve response operations. Participants included Hiroyasu Hirano, Mayor, Miyake City, Kouichirou Sakaue, Director, “House of Wind,” M. von Nkosi, Director, Housing Renewal Division, Office of Recovery, City of New Orleans, and Martha Kegel, Executive Director, UNITY of Greater New Orleans.

Symposium: Improvisation, Creativity, Collaboration: Fueling Innovation in the 21st Century 
March 28, 2008
(Manchester Craftmen's Guild, Pittsburgh)

Replicating the May 24th event for a Pittsburgh crowd at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, this event looked at jazz and "right brain" qualities like empathy, playfulness, improvisation and collaboration. Innovators Network participants Marty Ashby, Daniel H. Pink, Hiroshi Tasaka and Alan Webber, along with musician Anthony Brown discussed a wide range of topics including music, joy and creative problem-solving, necessary for innovation in the 21st century.

Lecture: Changemakers: Make the Impossible Possible
February 27, 2008

Keying off his new book, Make the Impossible Possible (January 2008, Currency/Doubleday), Bill Strickland shared his inspirational story from growing up in a Pittsburgh ghetto to running a nationally-recognized organization that successfully balances social action, artistic creativity and entrepreneurial acumen. Nana Watanabe, an award-winning photographer and author of Changemakers II: Working as a Social Entrepreneur (in Japanese), which includes Mr. Strickland, presided. For a summary of the event, please read Changemakers: Make the Impossible Possible (PDF).

Symposium: For Profit, For Good: Integrating Social Value into the Bottom Line
February 6, 2008

The U.S.-Japan Innovators Network and Nikkei co-sponsored this symposium to explore next-generation business models that more effectively blend social value into the bottom line as well as the need for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs to adopt the best practices of business to maximize their impact. Held at Nikkei Hall of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun Head Office in Tokyo, things were kicked off with a keynote address by Martin Coles, Chief Operating Officer, Starbucks Corporation & President, Starbucks Coffee International, and included Mari Hayashi, Darren Huston, Jacqueline Novogratz, Hiroshi Tasaka and Keith Yamashita. For a summary of the event, please read the English version (PDF), by Katherine Hyde, or the Japanese version (PDF), Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

At the symposium, Keith Yamashita, Chairman of Stone Yamashita Partners, distributed the following two handouts. Together, the handouts' purpose is to help people create new value and spark innovation.

Value Creation Model (PDF)
SBTA (See Believe Think Act) Model (PDF)


Lecture: Beyond Web 2.0
November 29, 2007

In collaboration with The New School, the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network held a public lecture with Hiroshi Tasaka, who explored how the next technology revolution will further empower the individual, blending the monetary and voluntary economies to create a new system of capitalism. He also discussed ways in which technology will help build bridges between the U.S. and Japan, as well as among countries in Asia in the emerging post-knowledge society. Watch the live webcast recorded during the event. (The New School website)

Retreat: Invigorating Communities, Designing for Inclusion
November, 2007
(Kyoto Center for Community Collaboration, Kyoto, Japan)

Kyoto, a city of 1.5 million people and Japan’s traditional seat of culture, faces challenges familiar to many American cities. At the top of the list are the revival of downtown commercial districts and the inclusion of economically depressed “outsider” groups. So it was natural that Japan Society’s U.S.-Japan Innovators Network should hold a two-day retreat in Kyoto, bringing together architects, urban planners, and leaders in culture and civil society from the United States and Japan.  For more details, please read Invigorating Communities, Designing for Inclusion (PDF).

Retreat: (IN)SPIRE: Connecting Communities
June 14-16, 2007
(Stone Yamashita Partners, San Francisco)

This was the first in a series of retreats that involved American and Japanese innovators from a range of disciplines. (IN)SPIRE was designed to explore problem-solving and areas of potential U.S.-Japan collaboration. The theme of the retreat, (IN)SPIRE: Connecting Communities, reflects the unprecedented challenges communities in the 21st century face and the need for problem-solvers to collaborate across borders and across categories of expertise. How well a community innovates and connects with other networks is crucial to how successfully it will adapt and evolve. A publication on the retreat, On Innovation and Community: A U.S.-Japan Dialogue, was produced in cooperation with Stone Yamashita PartnersMore detailed information about the retreat (PDF).

Symposium: Improvisation, Creativity, Collaboration: Fueling Innovation in the 21st Century
May 24, 2007

This event explored the importance of jazz and "right brain" qualities like empathy, improvisation and playfulness in collaboration and innovation in the 21st century. Participants Marty Ashby, Daniel H. Pink, Hiroshi Tasaka and moderator Alan Webber covered topics ranging from jazz in the boardroom to Japanese manga. For more details about the symposium please read this summary by Katherine Hyde.  Improvisation, Creativity, Collaboration: Fueling Innovation in the 21st Century (PDF). The following is presentation by Dr. Tasaka, where he spoke about the importance of the joy factor in the post-knowledge society. Joy Factor by Hiroshi Tasaka (PDF).

Symposium: Affecting Change Through Social Innovation: Design, Scalability, and Financing
January 23, 2007
(Keio University, Tokyo, Japan)

This international symposium held at Keio University followed (IN)SIGHT: Bridging Gaps and focusing on new directions in social innovation in Japan and the United States. Last September, Keio University and the Japan Society signed a comprehensive partnership agreement and this symposium was the first jointly held event to commemorate the Japan Society’s 100th anniversary in 2007 and Keio University’s 150th anniversary in 2008. Prominent social entrepreneurs from both Japan and the United States delivered fascinating lectures in each of the three sessions: Design, Scaling Out and Social Finance.
More detailed information about the symposium (English).
More detailed information about the symposium (Japanese).

Retreat: (IN)SIGHT: Bridging Gaps
January 19-21, 2007
(International House of Japan, Tokyo, Japan)

Intent on finding innovative ways to solve multiple issues affecting society the retreat participants discovered that retreats just like this one were filling a crucial unmet need for them: Japan Society provided a place for people to reach out of their insulated world, make unique connections and exchange and disseminate innovative ideas that really improve the overall quality of life all over the world. By bringing different innovators together around specific topics The U.S.-Japan Innovators Project challenges people to step outside their own world and reframe problems in order to come up with new, exciting solutions. More detailed information about the retreat (PDF).


Japanese Innovators Visit New York City
June 12, 2006

On the morning of June 12, 2006, a group of seven Japanese Innovators came to Japan Society in New York City to kick off a two-day program of site visits to three of New York’s most exciting development projects. The site visits varied in terms of scope, visibility, budget, emotional resonance, and degree of completion; however all three were important ongoing projects with valuable lessons on preserving, protecting, and promoting community in a modern city.  More detailed information about the two-day program (PDF).

Panel Discussion: Small Spaces + Big Imagination = Life in the Modern City
June 12, 2006

On the evening of June 12, Japan Society hosted an Innovators Series panel discussion entitled Small Spaces + Big Imagination = Life in the Modern City. The panel featured Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, founder of the Tokyo architecture firm Atelier Bow-Wow, and Limbon, Professor of Urban Planning at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto.  More detailed information about the panel discussion (PDF).

Private Luncheon for Yoshito Hori
January 23, 2006

Japan Society arranged a high-level private luncheon on behalf of Mr. Hori to discuss venture capital opportunities as well as trends in business education in Japan. Mr. Hori's GLOBIS Management School was recently granted a license by the Ministry of Education to become a full-fledged graduate business school awarding MBA degrees.


Panel Discussion: Otaku Unmasked: The Life, Death & Rebirth of Japan's Pop Culture
November 30, 2005

Hiroki Azuma and Dai Sato took part in an exciting public program at Japan Society entitled Otaku Unmasked: The Life, Death & Rebirth of Japan's Pop Culture. Their discussion, moderated by journalist and Project participant Doug McGray, centered on questions about the future vitality of Japan's popular culture, especially in terms of the 'otaku' community and its ongoing transformation from a subculture to the mainstream.

Read the transcript from the Otaku Unmasked program:
English (PDF)
Japanese (PDF)

Conversations on Culture
In addition to the public program, Doug McGray sat down for one-on-one interviews with two Japanese cultural innovators – Hiroki Azuma and Dai Sato – to learn more from each of them about their work and their thoughts on the future of Japanese art and pop culture.

Doug McGray's interview with philosopher and critic Hiroki Azuma (PDF)

Doug McGray's interview with anime screenwriter Dai Sato (PDF)

Japan Society Welcomes Japanese Innovators
October – November, 2005

In October and November of 2005, the Innovators Project network widened to include six Japanese innovators from a wide range of backgrounds and interest areas. All six were individuals that the Americans had connected with in the spring.

Yoshito Hori, Chairman & CEO of GLOBIS Corporation, met with enterprising businesspeople in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, to discuss how venture capitalists in Japan and the U.S. might learn from each other. Hiroshi Tasaka, President of SophiaBank, a cutting-edge Japanese think-tank, traversed both coasts discussing innovative social entrepreneurship with his American counterparts.

Cultural philosopher and professor Hiroki Azuma met with writers and philosophers to discuss the ebb and flow of a national pop culture. On the creative side, Dai Sato, anime screenwriter and Executive Director of Frognation, met with writers and production executives in the television and film industry to discuss exporting and marketing content to foreign audiences.

On the civil society front, Yasushi Aoyama, former Vice Governor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, sat down with urban planners and housing organizations on issues of social inclusion and providing support for minorities and the homeless. Tomoko Fujisaki, former Director of Health and Development Services (HANDS) focused on ways to strengthen the Japanese NPO/NGO sector in terms of its programs, finances, and public relations.

Yasushi Aoyama took part in a ten-day set of meetings in New York and Boston organized around investigating ideas of 'social inclusiveness' and how such ideas might shape policy decisions in urban settings. After meeting with government officials, business leaders, advocacy groups, and representatives from major universities, Mr. Aoyama wrote an extended essay on his findings. The essay has been abridged and you can read it here:

A Hypothesis on Social Inclusiveness (PDF)

Hiroshi Tasaka, President of Thinktank SophiaBank, visited nine organizations related to social entrepreneurship in the United States. Through various productive dialogues Dr. Tasaka was given a chance to explore many questions concerning the future of social entrepreneurship: Where are social entrepreneurs going? What is happening to their social, economic, and cultural climates? What is happening to capitalism? Following his trip, Dr. Tasaka wrote “Where are Social Entrepreneurs Going in the 21st Century? The Nine Visions for Social Entrepreneurs in the U.S.” You can read the full essay in  English and Japanese here:

Nine Visions Dedicated to Social Entrepreneurs in the U.S. (PDF)
21世界の社会起業家はどこに向かうか:米国の社会起業家に贈る9つのビジョン (PDF)

U.S.-Japan Innovators Project Sends First Participants to Japan
April – May 2005

Three teams of two American researchers, including three former Japan Society Fellows, traveled to Japan to meet a broad range of innovators, including those established in their fields of expertise, and those who are newly emerging.

The business innovation team, Alan Webber, Founding Editor of Fast Company magazine, and Keith Yamashita, founder and principal of Stone Yamashita, focused on identifying the people in Japan who are creating new ideas, technologies and practices likely to spur the next wave of global business innovation.

The cultural innovation team, Douglas McGray, freelance journalist and author of "Japan's Gross National Cool" (PDF) and Dominic Molon, Pamela Alper Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, met with artists, architects, anime directors, musicians, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, scientists and others who are on the cutting-edge of defining contemporary culture in Japan.

On the social innovation team, Rosanne Haggerty, founder & president of Common Ground Community, and Michael Reich, Taro Takemi Professor of International Health at Harvard University, focused engaging individuals from business, the arts, the nonprofit world and elsewhere, who are advancing and implementing new ideas on how to address a wide range of social and humanitarian problems.

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