Since the start of the "Innovation 25" policy, various measures and activities are being set up and started. "Innovation Courier Project" is the one of such activities.
I have been helping this project from the start. Its works include various projects, lectures, publishing and so on.
This time, on June 3rd, we had an exhibition and seminar (this web site is in Japanese only) under the theme of "water" at Yokohama. At the exhibition, many items such as truck portable sea water purification system, simple water purifying device already in practical use at Bangladesh, etc. were on display. They were all wonderful. However, I very strongly felt that we need to develop more things that more meet the local needs.
Japanese inevitably are inclined to rely on technologies, and engineers are too much focused on development of technologies or improvement of their accuracies that they often come up with very high-priced items that would be unrealistic and costly. Also, I always get the impression that they have tendency of depending on government for funding. The items are altogether wonderful, but in order to have these items delivered to the destination ASAP, we should think different way and find new ways to build such systems and finances that make it possible. For example, we could try to make products at local area that create local jobs and help people to relieve from poverty (even a little). I think that this kind of thought or viewpoint was missing. Maybe it's because many of us do not have any experience of living in those places. Thus, we are not able to feel everyday life as the local people. I think this is the weak point of Japan in this flat global age where "Demand-Driven Innovation" is very effective.
I had a lecture (this web-site is in Japanese only) and talked about the logic of Grameen Bank, introduced some of their examples, and also touched upon the wonderful NGO activities such as KickStart. These are what I call the innovation, "Creation of New Values."