Emerging Leader Award Selection Process 

 There will be an award presented in the Emerging Leader category (one U.S. award to a U.S. company and one Japanese award to a Japanese company).

The Emerging Leader Awards


The Emerging Leader Award will be presented to a company having a credible Japan – U.S. link that is young, dynamic, growing, and entrepreneurial.  We expect to give one U.S. award to an American company and one Japan award to a Japanese company.   Each winning company will stand out as particularly noteworthy for some specific innovation that is beginning to show a major impact, typically through demonstrated growth so far and also great future promise.

General characteristics sought

Candidate companies are likely to have originated as private startups that have been in existence 5-10 years.  Annual sales should have already entered onto a track of rapid growth, with most recent annual sales probably in the tens of million dollars.  Japan Emerging Leaders should exhibit a similar size and growth pattern to that of U.S. Emerging Leaders, although they may have been in existence for a longer period of time in order to achieve a similar scale of demonstrated impact and future potential.

Emerging Leader Award selection criteria

The following five criteria will be used in identifying candidates and selecting the winners of the Emerging Leader U.S. Award and Emerging Leader Japan Award.  We invite all interested parties to nominate an exciting company that fulfills most of these criteria, even if it does not match all of them.

  1. Impact of the company’s innovation. Is the company’s innovation causing a significant disruption (change) from pre-existing conditions (e.g. size or demographics of a market, appearance of new competitors with similar business models, displacement of some earlier product or service, etc.)?
  1. Uniqueness. How unique is the company’s innovation for which it is being considered (i.e. a new product or service, business model, business strategy, or organizational structure)?
  1. Market validation. Objective measures of volume and growth in sales or profits, cash flows, market capitalization, and other demonstrable impacts will be considered in selecting each winner.  For business model innovations, has the new business model been validated by the market?
  1. Future promise. What is the likelihood that the company will continue to grow rapidly in the future and achieve significant, sustainable long-term success.?
  1. US – Japan business relevance. We seek to honor companies having a meaningful Japan- U.S. connection.  For U.S. companies, we honor companies where Japan plays a role in their business development and/or strategy.  For Japanese companies, we honor companies that have a U.S. or global business strategy or other important connection.

Selection Process

The Steering Committee of the Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards has the overall responsibility for the Awards, including selection process and, ultimately, the credibility of Award recipients.  The Innovation Advisory Council (IAC) plays a critical role in nominating and evaluating credible companies and in ranking finalists as meritorious and truly deserving Innovation Award recipients.

The Emerging Leader Award identification and selection process is guided by an Emerging Leader Subcommittee, which reports directly to the Steering Committee.  The Emerging Leader Subcommittee considers nominations from all sources and identifies the Emerging Leader finalists for IAC consideration and evaluation.  The Subcommittee directly guides the selection process so as to assure that it is unbiased and that the winners are truly meritorious.

Emerging Leader nominations are solicited from three distinct sources:  the public, the IAC, and the Subcommittee.   Go to the 2017 Emerging Leader Nomination Form  on the Awards website to submit a nomination.

2017 Emerging Leader Award Selection Time Line

January 29, 2017:  Deadline for on-line and IAC submission of nominations for Emerging Leader U.S. and Emerging Leader Japan awards.

January-Late February, 2017: The Subcommittee recommends candidates for each Emerging Leader award to the Steering Committee. Finalists may be asked to submit some additional information. Internal Review of candidates occurs. The Innovation Advisory Council evaluation and selection process occurs.

Late February, 2017: Winners selected and notified.  Winners must agree that a senior executive will participate in the Awards Symposium at Stanford University.

All finalists will be informed of the outcome by mid-March.  Companies not selected in one year may well be selected in a subsequent year.

July 28, 2017: Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium held at Stanford University.  A senior representative of each winner must be present in order for the company to receive the award.


Nominations are requested from the general public and can be made by completing the brief 2017 Emerging Leader Nomination Form and submitting the scanned completed Nomination Form to Ms. Yuriko Tada, Business Coordinator, Innovation Initiative by email ( with a cc to John Thomas (  All nominations must be submitted by midnight (12:00 AM PST) on January 29, 2017.