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Guidelines for Collaboration between Business Entities and R&D-based Venture Businesses (First Version) Compiled

Aiming to promote collaboration between business entities and R&D-based venture businesses (VBs),* an important element for driving innovation creation, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) streamlined bottlenecks in developing a process of business entity-VB collaboration and case examples of leading companies that have engaged in such collaboration, and finally compiled the results into guidelines with self-diagnostic sheets, which are expected to be useful for both companies and VBs.

1. Background and objectives

With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution derived from technological innovations, e.g., IoT, big data, robotics and AI, product life cycles have been getting shorter. To address such speedy life cycles, it is important for companies to create new added value through a variety of connections between things and information, society and technologies, or producers and consumers under the policy concept titled “Connected Industries.” As a means to achieve this effort, it is effective for companies to utilize so-called open innovation programs in which companies take advantage of internal and external technologies, human resources, know-how and other tips and smoothly and efficiently achieve innovations.

In particular, business entities such as large enterprises need to break away from the existing closed business models and incorporate the technologies and growth potential of R&D-based VBs* into such entities’ approaches to developing new business.  R&D-based VBs, meanwhile, need to gain the support of large enterprises in acquiring such enterprises’ know-how to cultivate new sales channels or enter new markets, thereby leading their core technologies to larger business opportunities.
*Note: The term “R&D-based venture businesses” refers to entities engaging in business by utilizing highly novel and innovative technologies that they have developed for themselves.

However, most Japanese companies are still facing a situation in which they cannot smoothly engage in open innovation programs, particularly in collaboration between business entities and R&D-based VBs. Based on the recognition of this challenge, METI researched the current state of collaboration between business entities and R&D-based VBs, challenges therein, case examples of leading companies, and other issues through conducting a questionnaire survey and interviews, analyzed the results with the cooperation of experts in the industrial and academic sectors, and finally compiled the resulting information into guidelines with self-diagnostic sheets, which are expected to be useful for both business entities and R&D-based VBs.

METI expects business entities and R&D-based VBs to utilize the guidelines, deepen mutual understanding, and vitalize open innovation programs, thereby encouraging themselves to create innovations one after another and contribute to enhancing Japan’s industrial competitiveness.

2. Details and key points of the guidelines

The guidelines consist of three major sections.

Section 1 describes comprehensive views concerning the current state of collaboration between business entities and VBs and also describes 18 categories of bottlenecks that such entities and VBs are likely to face in developing collaboration.

Section 2 provides streamlined self-diagnostic sheets for business entities and VBs, respectively, as a tool to overcome such bottlenecks that they are likely to face, along with ratios of companies that have faced such bottlenecks.

Section 3 shows case examples of leading companies to which readers are able to make reference based on the results of self-diagnosis in Section 2.

Each section across the guidelines shows a necessary process of collaboration categorized into four steps that business entities and VBs should take before and after concluding contracts of collaboration. It also provides an index of contents at the upper section of each page.

METI recommends that personnel in charge of business entities and R&D-based VBs that intend to make reference to the guidelines should check Section 2 first to conduct self-diagnosis and ascertain the current situation and challenges that their companies are facing, and then go on to Section 3 to refer to case examples of leading companies.

Contents of the guidelines

Section 1: Current state of collaboration and bottlenecks likely to be faced
Section 2: Self-diagnostic sheets
Section 3: Efforts of leading companies described step by step for successful inter-company collaboration

Steps for successful inter-company collaboration

Step 1: Strategy formulation - open discussion-
Step 2: Contract negotiations
Step 3: Starting contracts - decision making for the next phase
Step 4: Exercising synergy effects of business/overcoming challenges again

3. Opinions of experts

1) Mr. Shuichi Matsuda, emeritus professor, Waseda University

Mr. Matsuda takes office as vice president, Japan New Business Conferences. He was president of the Japan Academic Society for Ventures, and Entrepreneurs, and is an expert in the field of venture business.
Professor Matsuda stated that the guidelines clearly describe challenges lying in collaboration between business entities and R&D-based VBs and also present best practices to overcome challenges step by step for successful collaboration. He continued to say that such entities and VBs are expected to proactively utilize the guidelines and to fix the guidelines into administrative practices.

2) Mr. Masahiro Samejima, lawyer

Mr. Samejima is a partner lawyer representing Uchida and Samejima Law Firm. He received the 2012 Intellectual Property Merit Award, recognized for his contribution to establishing a theory of intellectual property strategies and efforts for raising awareness of intellectual property among SMEs. He was a model for the fictional character “Mr. Kamiya,” a lawyer appearing in the best-selling novel “Shitamachi Rocket” (a story of developing rocket parts in a small factory).

Mr. Samejima stated that it is important for Japan to disseminate logical methods for goal-achievement when large enterprises develop the business of venture business’ technologies in overseas countries under the Team-Japan concept. He continued to say that the guidelines show streamlined challenges that VBs and large enterprises may face in developing collaboration and also describe measures for overcoming such challenges step by step. He believes that the guidelines will help people involved in this field.

Related Information

Release date

May 18, 2017

Division in Charge

Innovation and Industry-University Collaboration Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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