On Saturday July 3 at Port City Takeshiba, the Professional University of Information and Management for Innovation (iU) held a press conference. In attendance, the iU President, Mr. Ichiya Nakamura and the newly appointed director of the B Lab, Prof. Nanako Ishido of Keio University. This conference marked the launch of “iU B Lab,” a site for creating a fascinating future with everyone.
iU is a globally unique university where students strive to become entrepreneurs. Their studies place special focus on cultivating knowledge and skills in ICT, business, and global communication. iU has operated for a full year and built a community with 250 partner companies and 400 visiting faculty members. The university is driven by a mission to co-create with everyone. In the second year, iU will start a new initiative to launch a lab space that will also be co-created by different entities and Prof. Ishido will also be the director.
Mr. Nakamura explained that iU B lab will take a different approach compared to the MIT Media Lab, where he and Prof. Ishido once worked. Hence, the aim is to establish a participatory lab that is more open and combines pop + tech.
Ms. Ishido gave an explanation of B Lab
Ms. Ishido explained that the “B” in B Lab is an acronym that represents three key notions: Beyond, Borderless, and Breakthrough. Further, it is a space that seeks to transcend all barriers and frameworks, enables individuals and organizations to connect, and fosters creativity towards an interesting future together. “I was strongly attracted to MIT Media Lab, where I was 20 years ago, by its ability to develop a vision of a digital future society. Its unifying force to bring together key players from various industries, governments, and academia to implement ideas. I have always wanted to establish a lab like the MIT Media Lab, here in Japan,” she stated.
She further said, “Since returning to Japan, I chose to work closely with young users of new technologies and industries, but now that we are at a technological and social crossroads, I feel the necessity to establish a new lab where both domestic and international organizations such as research institutions, companies, governments, and individuals, can connect to build our society. Independence, distribution, and cooperation. Social, open, and participatory. B Lab aims to be such a platform.” Ms. Ishido added, “The goal of B Lab is to become a place where everyone, regardless of age, can become a researcher and collaborate their ideas. It will be a community that promotes innovation and incubation = i² (i squared).”
The lab aims to recruit one million researchers, and create a virtual laboratory organized by visiting lecturers. This initiative is already underway. B Las is also advocating sustainable education and develop digital transformation (DX) human capital. iU has established partnerships with 10 overseas universities around the world. Here the focus is on promoting a school of sharing, to offer the human and spatial assets of universities to the local community. Furthermore, this will create a network of students who want to start their own businesses. Thus, B Lab will continue to develop research in various areas without limits.
With the launch of B Lab activities, congratulatory messages from a total of 23 people were broadcast. Messages arrived from all over the world and from a wide variety of industries. Noteworthy messages included Mr. Osaki, Chairman of Yoshimoto Kogyo Holdings; Yoyoka drummer, Mr. Nakayama; the Mayor of Kyotango City; and Mr. Sugiyama, Director of RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project/Professor of the University of Tokyo.
When a reporter asked about how to become a researcher, Ms. Ishido replied, “There are no specific qualifications, but we want to know how enthusiastic a person is. We will recruit researchers on the web.” Upon a follow-up question, “Why did you decide to start B Lab and how is it different from other labs?” Ms. Ishido replied, ” I feel that Japan is weak in utilizing universities as a platform for industry and university collaboration to create new products and services. As well as in collaborating with international universities. I want to create a university that is not just an educational institution but also a research institution. Certainly, we will not be doing things that a typical lab would do, but will connect small creations to big inventions.”
Written by Noi Komatduda
B lab Official Site