Report from the Institute of Innovation for Future Society of Nagoya University
Based on support from the SAKURA Exchange Program in Science, we invited ten graduate students from the Chulalongkorn University Technopreneurship and Innovation Management Program (hereinafter "CU TIP") in Thailand. The Thai students participated in an eight-day exchange program from September 28 to October 5, 2017.
CU TIP is an interdisciplinary graduate school program that seeks to cultivate professionals who will start new business and who will create innovation in industry. In August 2017, CU TIP consummated an academic exchange agreement in regards to industry-academia cooperative research and personnel cultivation with the Institute of Innovation for Future Society, which is a core department for industry-academia cooperation at Nagoya Univ.
Industrial advancement is an urgent issue in Thailand. In response, the country is cultivating technopreneurs who will utilize technology to create new value and business. The recent exchange program was the first activity held after consummation of the agreement between the two universities. The program was held to contribute to the cultivation of technopreneurs and to build relationships between Japan and technopreneurs who will lead Thailand in the future.
Studying ways of thinking required for creating new value
The exchange program consisted of a workshop for imaging the ideal lifestyle in 20 years in three different regions (urban areas (Bangkok), depopulated areas, and remote islands), as well as a workshop for reviewing problem-solving methods through the application of TRIZ. In CU TIP, Thai students learn about research design for resolving social issues and commercialization of research results. The program in Japan was a meaningful experience that allowed the Thai students to study approaches through new ways of thinking.
Discussion during a workshop
During their stay in Japan, Thai students participated in an international conference on innovate environmental materials and social system aimed at achieving a sustainable society which incorporates the strengths of Japan. The students attended a keynote lecture given by Professor Hiroshi Amano of Nagoya Univ., the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics. Thai students were deeply impressed by the diligent attitude and passion that Professor Amano displayed in persistently continuing his research.
Learning about Japanese industry
Thai students visited the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. At the museum, they learned the history of how Toyota Motor Corporation grew into one of the world's largest corporations by transitioning from automatic looms to the automobile industry. Students learned about the accomplishments of Sakichi Toyoda and Kiichiro Toyoda, two of Japanese preeminent technopreneurs.
Students also visited the Enokido Plant of LIXIL Corporation, one of Japan's largest housing equipment manufacturers, for a tour of the toilet production line. The Thai students compared an advanced automated process with a traditional process using manual work by craftsman. The experience taught students the importance of inheriting traditional techniques and implementing new ideas in manufacturing technology.
Students invited to participate in the program possessed a strong interest and desire to create new business by implementing various technologies and systems in order to achieve new ideas.
Half of the ten students had already started their own business. While in Japan, these students could be seen thinking how to apply what they learned and experienced to their own research and experience. There was a proactive exchange of opinions during the program.
Also, at a social mixer following the completion ceremony for the program, Thai students explored a variety of proposals for the possibility of partnerships with faculty at Nagoya Univ. The exchange program was also an opportunity for Nagoya Univ. to deepen its understanding towards Thai industry. We expect further advancements in international industry-academia joint research activities in the future.
We are deeply grateful to the SAKURA Science and all related officials for providing us with this invaluable opportunity.