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COLLABORATOR NO.1

Daikin's Unique Collaborative Creation to Pioneer the Future with Collaborators

Professor, Graduate School of Engineering /Institute for Future Initiatives Vice President・Director,Office for Management Planning, University of Tokyo
Ichiro Sakata

Early Adoption of Open Innovation

Open innovation--an approach to open company fields of R&D and product commercialization to the outside and incorporate outside resources of knowledge into the company--is the most important factor in today's corporate innovation. Achieving this requires Daikin to meet various conditions, such as understanding external phenomena from a wider perspective, having an interface connecting inside and outside the organization, and allocating new roles to integrate internal and external knowledge for research and product development at the Technology and Innovation Center (TIC).

Daikin is a company that has promoted open innovation more quickly and fully than other Japanese companies have. It clearly defined an organization that promotes and manages open innovation as a "control tower" and established the large-scale interface TIC to simultaneously promote organizational collaboration with many universities. That demonstrates Daikin's unique spirit of innovation.

What Only Global Companies Can Do

Some universities and venture companies wish to quickly globalize the technologies and ideas they have created. In addition to conducting joint research with companies, an increasing number of researchers and university-originated venture companies wish to expand their innovative technologies with the support of global companies.

Daikin is the ideal partner for such collaborators. The important thing is to seek opportunities for collaboration in wider areas and quickly mobilize knowledge. However, as the global market share increases, small outgrowths of businesses become harder to grow in the company because the main businesses are much larger than these outgrowths. In contrast, universities and venture companies value uniqueness more than scale. So, it is effective to classify these outgrowths into a "special category" and grow them in such organizations.

Utilization of the "Hybrid" Organizational Culture

What makes Daikin unique is that while inheriting the good Japanese traditions of valuing the bonds between people and building trust with local communities, it has dynamically promoted global business development. In other words, Daikin has the advantages of both a highly-regarded leading company and an agile venture company.

With the growing global consensus for the principles of SDGs and ESG investments, it has become increasingly more difficult today to gain a high market reputation simply by accumulating technologies or creating original business models. In this context, Daikin's "hybrid" organizational culture is an effective advantage in collaborating with the clusters of promising companies in Silicon Valley and Shenzhen. I hope that Daikin will have more collaborators that share the same philosophy and create a better future society together.

Ichirou Sakata

Born in 1966, Dr. Sakata is a professor at the Graduate School of Engineering and the Institute for Future Initiatives of the University of Tokyo. He also serves as Vice President, and Director of Office for Management Planning, of the University of Tokyo.
He formerly served as a senior policy analyst and director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan. He is engaged in resolving modern issues, such as innovation policy, technology management, regional clusters, industrial policy focused in the fields of energy, sustainability, nanotechnology, and information science. In December 2016, he was appointed a Daikin fellow, and since then, he has been engaged in joint research with Daikin to identify seeds of global social issues by utilizing academic big data.

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