1. A Festival of Startups for the Future.
  2. What’s the Key to
    Successful Innovation?
  3. New Businesses Arising
    from Open Innovation.

In the center of Tokyo lies the beautiful Japanese gardens of Happo-en, where from March 21st through
23rd, Konica Minolta sponsored the Pioneers Asia 2016 startup festival.
Here, we’ll explore the open innovation initiatives that are leading to new value.


01A Festival of Startups
for the Future.

Europe’s Largest Startup Event, in Asia for the First Time!

Over 250 startups from all over the world.
The international and open atmosphere at the event was host to demos of the newest technologies and products as well as sessions on robotics, transportation, life sciences, finance, entertainment, fashion and more, leading to countless cutting-edge discussions.

“90-Second Pitch”
Presentations Showcasing Startup Ideas

On the Konica Minolta Academy Stage, Startups had a minute and a half to pitch their companies’ ideas to investors and enterprises in the “90-Second Pitch” competition.
The pitches included services such as finance, based on world-famous FinTech, as well as various others incorporating Blockchain.
For example, Thailand’s Midas Reserv is digitizing assets to eliminate paperwork, and Singapore’s Otonomous is supporting the digitization of not only stocks, but also the establishment and administration systems of enterprises.

The winners of the Grand Prix were Switzerland’s, which utilizes the IoT to convert existing facilities into smart factories, and Austria’s Parkbob, that created an online parking space locator and management system.
There was a great round of applause for the winners, who will surely move up to their next level.

02What’s the Key to
Successful Innovation?

Here’s what not to do when enterprises and startups collaborate.

Executive Officer of Konica Minolta, Yuji Ichimura, and the representative of collaborating startup Yaraku held a Fireside Talk session on the challenges of enterprises and startups working together, exchanging ideas on the secret to their success.
First, they pointed out the pitfalls of the so-called “standard Japanese corporation”, emphasizing the differences between the long process of planning and budgeting approvals before an enterprise can begin a project, compared with the speed that a startup can incorporate and utilize the newest technology.
They also discouraged the thinking that an enterprise that can no longer innovate should put all its expectations on a startup.
Shimura stressed that corporations have to be prepared to innovate to work with startups, and that sharing perspectives is vital to business.

Konica Minolta Executive Officer Yuji Ichimura
During the two days of workshops, Konica Minolta staff exchanged information with overseas startups regarding their respective areas of expertise.

How do you choose who to work with?

For startups, choosing what enterprise to work with is a decision that can make or break a company.
Konica Minolta gives its project leaders operational responsibility, allowing them to make decisions more smoothly when working with partner startups.
In addition, there are clear criteria for selecting startups to work with.
Ichimura says the first step is seeing how customers react to an idea. If it makes them say "Wow!", then the idea is worth taking to the next level.
Budgets and projected earnings are second priority.
Maintaining a stance that doesn't inhibit innovation can be said to be a requirement to working effectively with startups.

03New Businesses Arising
from Open Innovation.

The "Business Innovation Center(BIC)" New Business Creation Team

The event floor was also home to the Konica Minolta Japan BIC booth.
With the aim of creating new businesses through new innovations, the BIC team has 5 branches in Singapore, Silicon Valley, Tokyo, London, and Shanghai, developing promising businesses.
Naturally, cooperation between numerous professionals is needed in order to organize services that benefit people and businesses with unprecedented ideas.

The BIC is working closely under the banner of open innovation with not only startups, but educational and research institutions as well.BIC Japan director Hakii expressed his team’s stance on innovation that their passion and their mission is to directly create new businesses in collaboration with startups.

BIC Japan Director Takashi Hakii

BIC Japan’s New Solutions: HANA and MIMI

While over 20 projects are underway at BIC Japan, the body odor detector “HANA” and medical translation service “MIMI” were selected to be on display at Pioneers Asia.
Konica Minolta’s core DNA of customer-centric thinking can be seen in its focus on “HANA”, the body odor detector for middle-aged men, as well as “MIMI”, which allows non-Japanese speakers to communicate with Japanese doctors.

Many attendees stopped by the booth to learn about the BIC’s initiatives, as well as talk directly with its developers.Quite a few had similar impressions, such as: “I thought Konica Minolta was just a camera and copy machine brand, but they changed my image of the company completely.”

Visit the Business Innovation Center site



Japan’s first body odor particle detector, currently being developed as an etiquette product for men between the ages of 30-40.Future B2B applications with increased particle sensitivity include sanitation inspection of workplaces.



Tablet-based medical communication support for non-Japanese speakers, currently being developed for full medical support of non-Japanese speakers in response to increasing medical tourism and preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Nurturing Future Innovation

Presenters, judges and exhibitors of Pioneers Asia 2016 could be seen casually dining and communicating together, regardless of position or company scale.
It could be that this atmosphere is a big hint as to how startups and enterprises can work together successfully. Rather than hindering innovation, giving it space to grow may be exactly what our markets, our countries, and our world needs.
Konica Minolta, side by side with startups, will continue to take on the challenge of “Changing the World through Innovation”.

Visit the Pioneers Asia 2016 Homepage

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