June 27, 2018
Aiming to promote collaboration between business entities and R&D-based venture businesses (VBs), an important factor in driving innovation, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) compiled the Guidelines for Collaboration between Business Entities and R&D-based Venture Businesses (first edition) in May 2017. Following this, METI included key considerations in creating solutions to problems, including case examples focusing on removing bottlenecks to developing processes that support business entity–VB collaboration, which were revealed in the first edition, and hereby release the second edition of the guideline targeting responsible personnel of business entities intending to start collaborations with VBs.
1. Background and objectives
With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution resulting from technological innovations (e.g., IoT, big data, robotics and AI), product life cycles have been getting shorter. To address such life cycles, it is important for companies to create new added value by creating a variety of connections between devices and information, society and technologies, or producers and consumers under the policy concept titled "Connected Industries." As a means to achieving this effort, it is effective for companies to utilize so-called “open innovation programs” in which companies take advantage of both internal and external technologies, human resources, know-how and other advantages and smoothly and efficiently create innovative products and services.
In particular, business entities including 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 their 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 giving their core technologies access to larger business opportunities.
*Note: The term "R&D-based venture businesses" refers to entities engaging in business by developing and utilizing cutting-edge and innovative technologies developed in-house.
However, most Japanese companies still face obstacles in engaging in open innovation programs, particularly in collaboration between business entities and R&D-based VBs. Based on a recognition of this challenge, last fiscal year METI compiled the first edition of the guidelines for collaboration that are meant to be useful for both business entities and VBs. In the process of compiling the first edition, it was revealed that there are multiple bottlenecks faced by both sides in developing collaboration, there have still only been a small number of successful cases of collaboration with VBs and efforts for accelerating business collaboration are insufficient on the part of business entities.
Therefore, the focus was placed on business entities this fiscal year. METI conducted interviews with companies and searched for case examples inside and outside Japan, and held deliberations together with company personnel responsible for business collaboration, officers of VBs, professors, and legal and IP experts and finally compiled and publicized the second edition of the Guidelines for Collaboration between Business Entities and R&D-based Venture Businesses.
It is expected that full utilization of these two editions of the guidelines will deepen mutual understanding, vitalize collaboration between business entities and R&D-based VBs and facilitate the development of innovation, ultimately strengthening Japan's industrial competitiveness.
2. Details and key points of the guidelines
The guidelines consist of four major sections.
The first part (Section 2 and Section 3) describes fundamental grounds and preparedness for developing collaboration. METI hopes that the guidelines help readers to make preparations before undertaking a collaboration project (clarification of the objectives and directions of business collaboration).
The latter part (Section 4 and Section 5) outlines bottlenecks and countermeasures based on case examples. Section 4, which explains measures and case examples for each type of bottleneck, can be referred to in solving current problems hindering collaboration. Section 5, which organizes case examples into roadmaps, will be helpful when considering methods of proceeding with a collaboration project.
Company personnel responsible for business collaboration are expected to fully utilize the guidelines as a whole in solving problems arising in the process of developing collaboration with VBs and when internally persuading relevant departments and superiors to promote collaboration.
Meanwhile, case examples presented in the guidelines will serve as reference materials for VBs and help them better understand their collaboration partners.
< Contents of the guidelines >
- Grounds for business entities to consider collaboration with VBs
- The most important factors in developing collaboration with VBs
- Bottlenecks hindering collaboration and key points for resolving them
- Case examples of collaboration
3. Opinions of experts
- Mr. Kazuyori Kanai, President, Aomori University and emeritus professor, Osaka University
"Positive collaboration between business entities and R&D-based VBs is required for promoting and accelerating innovation. The guidelines explain problems that may arise in developing such collaboration and key points for solving them in accordance with collaboration steps, with detailed case examples. I hope that active utilization of the guidelines will facilitate business collaboration leading to the creation of innovation."
- Mr. Akihiko Nagata, Director CFO, Euglena and representative, Real Tech Fund
"The second edition incorporates more detailed case examples compared with the first edition that instead focused on conceptual approaches, and is more helpful for working-level officials. The guidelines seem to be for large enterprises but may also serve as reference materials for VBs, helping them understand the circumstances and perspectives of large enterprises. The most important things in developing collaboration are mutual understanding and respect and I believe that the guidelines will contribute to that."
- Guidelines for Collaboration between Business Entities and R&D-based Venture Businesses (Second Edition) (in Japanese)(PDF:3,025KB)
- Guidelines for Collaboration between Business Entities and R&D-based Venture Businesses (First Edition) (in Japanese)(PDF:1,681KB)
- Interim Report on the New Industrial Structure Vision (released on April 27, 2016)(PDF:6,387KB)
Division in Charge
Innovation and Industry-University Collaboration Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau