Our research center sees the study of Innovation as transcending conventional boundaries of academic specialization, countries, and Institutions (government, business, and academia). The greatest inventive genius in recorded history was surely Leonardo da Vinci. There is a breathtaking idea – submarine or helicopter or automatic forge – on every single page of his notebooks. But not one of these could have been converted into an innovation with the technology and the materials of 1500. Indeed, for none of them would there have been receptivity in the society and economy of the time.
Strengthening of Inter-University Collaboration
Within Hitotsubashi University, research at the IIR is founded on a close relationship with the Department of Commerce. However, since innovation can be viewed broadly as a social and economic phenomenon, we cannot ignore our relationship with other academic departments.
Much innovation research to date has largely taken an economic viewpoint, and therefore it is natural that we maintain a strong relationship with the Department of Economics. However, we also recognize that innovation can be explained in terms of the personalities of entrepreneurs, as well as in social criteria and social systems, so it is essential to maintain contact with the Department of Social Studies. Finally, we also need to develop close links with the Department of Law since questions concerning intellectual property rights and other legal mechanisms have a direct influence on innovation activities.
At the IIR, then, we recognize that innovation is an inter-disciplinary activity and we purposely develop relationships with other departments within the university since this assists our research into the nature of innovation.
Establishment of Collaboration Among Academics
Ever since it became universally recognized that innovation is the driving force behind modern industrial society, many scholars from a broad range of academic fields have researched the subject. However, there has been a marked tendency in conventional research to view innovation as an isolated phenomenon within each specialized discipline. For example, because scholars of management studies, economics, and social and political science have dealt with innovation from the perspective of their own individual discipline, the theme has tended to be treated as one narrow area in each field, and any exchange between the various disciplines has been extremely limited.
At the IIR, however, we aim to successfully integrate knowledge that has been accumulated in a number of fields by strengthening cross-links between scholars of different disciplines, and thereby discover the true nature of innovation.
Collaboration among Industry,Government and Universities
Hitotsubashi University is situated in an area (the Tama district) of Tokyo that has several research institutes and company research facilities. The IIR functions as a focal point where research conducted by these various research facilities is unified from the perspective of innovation management. At the IIR, companies and research groups have the opportunity to collaborate in research into how to manage the processes of innovation. Just as in Silicon Valley, where Stanford University acts as a focal point to a regional network of companies and research laboratories, the IIR is the locus of innovation research for the dynamic Tama district of Tokyo. At the IIR, we also encourage collaboration with local universities, especially science-based universities, by promoting exchange between researchers jointly studying the same technological fields. In this way, the IIR is at the center of a web of industry-university links.
Aim to be the Global Hub of Innovation Research
Researchers from many countries are currently showing great interest in the innovations of Japanese companies. The IIR plays an important role as a window into that world, whereby foreign researchers can better understand Japanese companies and the role of innovation generally. More specifically, we invite scholars of innovation from universities around the world to the Institute, as well as researchers delegated by businesses and government. Our aim is to be recognized internationally as the global hub for research into innovation.