Fostering a Culture of Innovation: Incubit (Part 3)
CEO of Incubit, Naoki Kitamura“Changing imagination into influence by using cutting edge technology and design” – this is the mission of the 2014 founded technology venture Incubit that supports IT startups using various web technologies and techniques such as “Deep Learning”. The company has since become the official partner to IBM Watson, and helped developing web and mobile apps as well as chatbots and AI services.We asked Incubit’s CEO, Mr. Kitamura, about his motivation to become an entrepreneur and how he hopes to create an innovative society. His guiding principle to “live life according to what you love to do and by doing so still being able to have a significant impact on society” comes from his experience of being a high school dropout and fighting through depression. In part 3 of our interview he reveals his secret to success.
Read Part 1 Here.Read Part 2 Here.―― You do not only have impressive engineering skills, but you’re also educated in business management. Both engineering and business management are thought to be important skills. What are your thoughts on this?To some extent business management knowledge is important, but business management styles will change depending on the personnel in your team. For example, I rank myself as a 7/10 in any field. I can cover the engineering, designing, business, and management myself. However, I can’t compare to someone who has specialized in engineering. With that being said, specializing in one field is not my strong suit but rather being able to dabble in many fields. So if your abilities lie in specializing in engineering, then I think that’s what you should focus on. The best solution is to pursue your strong suits to the fullest and surround yourself with people whose strengths are your weaknesses. Since I am a 7/10 in these fields, I need to surround myself with people who are 10/10 in design or management or finances, in order to ensure achieving my goal. By establishing a strong structural base, possibilities become endless.―― What prerequisites do you think are necessary to create an innovative environment?Fostering innovation, or the processes of bringing an idea to life, requires ten elements. To start with the first three: number 1 - there needs to be a major problem; number 2 - a radical solution; and number 3 - science and technology. Here we can use Elon Musk’s rocket transportation business as an example. Musk believes that we will face a crisis (or huge problem) when the earth’s population reaches one hundred billion people and will no longer be habitable. His radical solution to this problem is Mars emigration, and his plan to achieve this is based on space technology and physics. With this, number 4 - an idea was born to transform his plan into actuality. However, the threshold of being able to bring an idea to life is incredibly high. You need a sense of ownership and a sense of mission to reach this threshold, which leads me to number 5 - you need an entrepreneurial spirit, and number 6 - a pragmatic business strategy. Once you have these six elements in place, number 7 - your mission, will become clear. Essentially the guiding questions become: What issue are you going to solve? Why? And how? Once you have established your mission, number 8 - your team, and number 9 - finances, will gradually fall into place. With these in place, the last element remaining is number 10 - execution. These ten elements are the sum of my findings after reading approximately 300 books on the philosophy of the past and the future and researching various business models.―― That was extremely insightful, thank you! Lastly, can you tell us a bit about your future goals?Of course! My primary focus is Incubit, but I also want to establish a think tank, an educational institution, and a research institution to help entrepreneurs. Allow me to elaborate on each briefly. With the think tank, my goal is to educate more people on issues we face in society and help them to come up with radical solutions to major problems. Secondly, I want to create an educational institution specifically geared towards helping entrepreneurs connect with the right resources. Lastly, I want to create a research and development institution focused on the radical solution, science, and technology elements. My primary role would be as a consultant figure to aid in developing business strategies and financial strategies for upcoming businesses. Incubit will play a role in the last crucial elements of the process, mission, team, and finances, by transforming the ideas companies bring to us into reality. The end goal of all of this is to create an environment that continuously fosters innovation.