The Japan Society of Northern California Japan-US Innovation Day and Japan-US Innovation Awards highlight the dynamic synergy between Japan and the United Sates in innovation by honoring outstanding companies from both countries that have achieved highly noteworthy innovation in their business or technology.
The inaugural Awards were presented at the 1st Japan-US Innovation Day conference at Stanford University on July 15, 2011, featuring talks, presentations, and panel discussions by distinguished guests and by the award winners themselves: See 2011 Agenda
The Innovation Awards Awards Process is governed by a global Innovation Advisory Council (IAC) comprised of leading business, academic and non-profit organization representatives.
Allen Miner, Founder and CEO of SunBridge Corporation, a venture capital firm with offices in Sunnyvale, CA and Tokyo, oversees the Awards selection process and chairs the Steering Committee that has final responsibility for selecting awardees. Richard B. Dasher, PhD. and Director of Stanford’s US-Asia Technology Management Center, plays an integral role as a Steering Committee member. Hiroshi Menjo, Managing Partner, NetService Ventures Group, John Thomas, Vice Chairman, Martingale Asset Management and Board Member, Japan Society of Northern California, and Dana Lewis, Japan Society President, also serve on the Steering Committee: See IAC and Steering Committee members
There are three core Japan-US Innovation Awards, each of which can have one Japanese and one US winner. The selection process is rigorous and impartial, and has been designed to identify truly noteworthy award recipients, companies that are highly respected for their innovation and market position and that embody what it means to be “best in class”. Additional special awards may be presented at future Japan-US Innovation Day events, recognizing special achievements or particular sectors.
The three Core awards are:
One US award and one Japan award to a large, successful, dynamic, organization.The company and its innovation(s) have had a demonstrable, lasting impact of such magnitude that it can genuinely be said to have “changed the world” in some significant way. The company will likely be public, in existence over 10 years, with worldwide annual sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The company will have demonstrated significant, sustainable success in both the US and the Japanese markets.
One US and one Japan award to a large global enterprise not usually included in discussions of innovation and entrepreneurism. The company will have generated a significant innovation through internal efforts rather than outside acquisitions, e.g., from its own research lab or through other unique corporate activity. In some cases, the Award may focus on a key individual in the corporation whose passion, creativity, and entrepreneurial drive sustained the innovation from idea to commercial success despite whateve internal or external challenges may have arisen.
One US award and one Japan award to young, small, dynamic, growing, entrepreneurial companies. The organization, its founder, and/or its innovation(s) stand out as particularly noteworthy among its domestic peers. Candidate companies will likely be private startups that have been in existence 5-10 years, with annual sales in the tens of million dollars. The recipient company will have at least a credible footprint in both Japan and the US. A potential “World Changer” in the future.
1) The Japan-US Innovation Awards will be made in recognition of a specific innovation, where “innovation” refers to the practical implementation of something newly created or conceived. The definition of innovation can be broad, such as a new technology brought to practical use, a new use of existing technology, a new business idea realized as a company, a new business model, a new business strategy, a new use of intellectual property, and more.
2) US-Japan connection: The company recognized must have demonstrated success in bridging cultural boundaries between the US and Japan. The awards will go to US companies that are active in Japan and Japanese companies active in the US, preferably with an important foothold in Northern California. The trans-Pacific connection can be as basic as a Japanese company bringing an innovative retail strategy to the US or a Silicon Valley company introducing a new technology to Japan. The company may have begun sales operations or established a significant R&D center in the foreign market, have successfully integrated a foreign corporate acquisition, or be engaged in other partnering relationships in the foreign market, etc.
3) The innovation must be significant, be it in the impact of the innovation on the innovating company, the market being served, society at large or a specific cohort thereof. The innovation must already have had demonstrable impact, and there should be every reason to expect that its impact will persist over time.
4) The award should be timely. Although the innovation itself may have originated some time (perhaps a considerable time) in the past, there should be a newsworthy and timely reason to call attention to it this year. A Silicon Valley company may have recently passed a key growth milestone in Japan: US$100M in sales, 250 employees, etc. A young, Japanese technology company may have recently begun shipping a significant volume of leading-edge technology components to Silicon Valley OEMs, etc.
All the awardees from both Japan and the United States will epitomize the dynamic innovative energy between US and Japanese companies, many centered here in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, that are increasingly at the heart of the evolving economic ties between our two countries.
Please click here to view photos from the event.