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R&D design for realizing innovation

O.SATO Laboratory
Professor: SATO Osamu

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[Research areas]
Management of Technology
[Keywords]
Innovation, R&D, Social needs, Principles, Knowledge creation/systematization

Skills and Background we are looking for in Prospective Students

We welcome those interested in understanding and solving social issues, who are flexible thinkers, and with a strong spirit to face challenges. Basic knowledge of materials and devices is desirable but not required.

What you can expect to learn in this laboratory

Students will acquire the basic skills necessary to design and execute innovations based on their ability to holistically understand social needs, the status of R&D, and industrial structures. Specifically, we aim to build the following capabilities: 1) grasping the essence of topics from multiple objective perspectives, 2) creating new social and economic values by integrating necessary knowledge from multiple fields and organizations, 3) planning and implementing concrete solutions, and 4) running organizations with coordinating with stakeholders.

Research outline

The world faces great changes on a global scale, including globalization, climate change, changes to competition principles and environments, and the rapid evolution of technologies such as information and communications technology (ICT) and artificial intelligence (AI). Because of these challenges, several countries and companies are eager to solve social issues and achieve economic growth through innovation. However, the life cycle of industry and business is becoming ever shorter, making R&D and business management increasingly complex. Based on these, our laboratory follows three research themes.

1) Establishment of a foundation for strategic planning‐from basic research to social implementation

With regard to changes at the global scale, realizing innovations ahead of others requires a global perspective and a comprehensive strategy from basic research to social implementation. Although creating such a strategy is difficult, to build the necessary academic base, we explore each process of the knowledge creation, the systematization of knowledge, the discovery of needs, value creation, and value acquisition, with a primary focus on the fields of materials and devices. Further, we clarify success factors and challenges to success in each stage of the process. Based on our research results, we propose management guidelines in the early stages of R&D, marked with a high level of uncertainty.

2) Elucidation of the influence of natural science principles on management

To build the foundation of 1), fusing natural sciences and business administration is essential. Therefore, we promote research that considers products as a fusion point between two fields. We aim to elucidate the influence of natural science principles on industry and business on the basis of product architecture theory and develop methods to predict future industry and business trends based on these principles.

3) Design and practice of the innovation system

To realize pioneering innovations in an aging society with a declining birthrate, the following systems for the efficient use of social resources need to be established: 1) a system that efficiently creates social and economic values by appropriately matching basic academic research with social needs; 2) a bottom-up open innovation system that fosters innovation throughout society; and 3) a social system that aims to achieve both the creation of new industries and the re-establishment of human resources through recurrent education for middle-aged and elderly people. We will design these systems in collaboration with researchers in the fields of materials, engineering, information science, and business administration and put these systems into practice as part of our education and research.

Key Publications

  1. Osamu Sato and Shuzo Fujimura. The study on Japanese manufacturers’ status fall in LCD industry: focusing on Japanese manufacturers’ investment rating to G4 investment. Akamon Management Review, 2010, 9.10: 693-740 (in Japanese).
  2. Osamu Sato and Shuzo Fujimura. Influence of the potential and constraint of the principle involved in product architecture on competitive strategy: A case study on the competition between LCD and PDP in the flat-panel TV market. Organizational science, 2016, 50.1: 70-85 (in Japanese).
  3. Osamu Sato, Harumi Okuno, Isao Adachi, Junji Watanabe, Masatoshi Tokita, Keita Sakakibara, Yuji Kinose, Atsushi Goto, and Yoshinobu Tsujii. Novel in-plane switching liquid crystal display with an extremely high transmittance using a well-designed bottlebrush as a zero-azimuth anchoring material. Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, 2019, 58.6: 066503.

Teaching Policy 

We foster individuals who have the ability to lead innovations, choose their own lives, and can adapt to a changing society. Through research and seminars, we cultivate creativity, logical thinking, the ability to develop holistic understanding, and the management skills required for navigating an uncertain world, together with an academic grounding. In addition, we aim to develop the communication skills and positive spirit required to successfully communicate with other organizations.

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