Activity Report

Activity Report of Open Application Course vol.34

A Comparison between Japan and India of Tenacity of Entrepreneurial Innovation Ecosystems and Risks of Bankruptcy

Report from Takao Fujiwara, Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences,
Toyohashi University of Technology

(1) Outline of the program

This program should be perceived as an extension of two research projects, which were organized by the Toyohashi Univ. of Technology together with the DMS (Department of Management Science) of the IISc (Indian Institute of Science), one in academic year 2015 entitled "MOT Possibilities in Shift to Industry 4.0", and one in academic year 2016, entitled "A Comparison of Ecology of Ventures in Japan and India". Ten graduate students (five attending doctoral course (including one female student) and five attending master's course (including two female students)) were invited for the program for a period from January 21 to January 28, 2018.

In addition, in May, 2017, bilateral joint research seminars organized by JSPS and ICSSR were held in both universities ensuring that the exchange between students and teachers of the two countries is seamlessly continued. This time, we focused on the issue of rational decision making regarding cycles of innovation resources in the industrial clusters of Bangalore, Toyota, and Hamamatsu, and held many a discussion regarding the issue not only among the program participants but also with persons outside the universities.

image1 Welcoming the guests at the Chubu Centrair International Airport (2018. 1.21)

(2) Special features and results of exchange

The guests were shown a number of facilities. In the university, they were shown the clean room of the semiconductor research facility, while outside the university they paid visits to several labs at the Central Research Laboratory, Hamamatsu Photonics, to the 3D CAD software development lab of the Armonicos R&D Center, the Toyota Kaikan Exhibition Hall and the automobile assembly line of the Tsutsumi Plant, and also exchanged ideas at the trial facility "Craftsmanship and Innovation Base SENTAN" in Toyota City.

In the university, the guests engaged in educational exchanges making presentations and participating in discussions with the students in the Real Option and Financial Engineering classes, while in research exchanges, the guests and the graduate students took turns making presentations on their master's and doctoral theses that match the theme of the program, engaging in fruitful discussions on their content.

image2 Inspection of the semiconductor research facility at the EIIRIS (January 22, 2018)
image3 Discussion at one of the seminars (January 22, 2018)

Guests also enjoyed many opportunities to learn outside the university. At the Hamamatsu Entrepreneur Cafe, they learned the statistics, listened to presentations on case studies, and participated in discussions regarding establishment and discontinuance of ventures in the venture ecosystems, prepared by the Hamamatsu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and exchanged opinions. The initiative accentuated the internationalization of the area that went to great lengths to invite JETRO.

At the Craftsmanship and Innovation Base SENTAN, participants of the program enjoyed a presentation on measures towards, as well as statistics and examples of the post-automobile industry, another presentation that described the current situation with Start-up India, Make in India, and Digital India in Bangalore, which also touched on the factors determining success and failure of ventures, and yet another presentation on measures towards and examples of fusion of the software industry and the manufacturing industries. A particularly valuable point suggested was the possibility of cooperation between Indian software ventures and Japanese small and medium size industrial corporations in the areas of traffic infrastructure, smart city, and so on.

The guests enjoyed an excursion to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology visiting an exhibition displaying technological continuity of the area during the shift it made from the textiles industry to the automotive industry, and another excursion to the Atsuta Shrine, a perfect location to get a very personal experience of spiritual culture of Japan.

The exchange was highly successful. For Japanese participants, an opportunity for discussion with the leading graduate students of India, a country with much larger population than Japan, became a fresh incentive for further research. Some of the guests from India, who had participated in the program previously, are now planning to come to Japan as postdoctoral fellows from April, 2018, while some submitted applications to their home county for grants to come to Japan in 2018 to take their PhDs here. It is thus clear that the exchange is advancing steadily and has already progressed from an entry-level initiative to a core-level one.

(3) Future tasks and prospect

Although the participants from India were quite impressed by the infrastructure of Japan such as water, electricity, and railroad services, there were some, although their number was not very high, who did not think much of the level of research facilities and mentioned that compared with Japan, Indians get more invitations from the U.S. It would seem that in the future, it would be better to concentrate not on the hardware aspect of our country but go deeper in introducing the cultural/human side of innovation in Japan. The guests, in fact, were very much impressed by the courteousness, with which Japanese people welcomed them wherever they went. In the future, we would like to build on the results we have achieved so far with this grassroots exchange among students, and also promote exchange among teachers of the two countries.