Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.

Business Idea Competition to address societal problems on the theme of "wellness."


Innovation Network for Co-Creating the Future Business Idea Competition

Societal problems have become heightened and more complex since the dawn of the 21st century, both in Japan and around the world, and the public sector is reaching the limits of its capabilities to address these problems on its own. We are preparing to launch the Innovation Network for Co-Creating the Future, a platform to facilitate collaboration among industry, government, academia, and citizens by gathering knowledge from around the world and promoting co-creation and implementation through optimal combinations in order to help resolve these growing issues with groundbreaking technologies and innovations and contribute to sustainable growth.
To jumpstart this endeavor, we are holding a Business Idea Competition to address societal problems on the theme of "wellness." We look forward to receiving applications from persons and startups who are passionate about addressing societal problems in the area of wellness, both in Japan and around the world.


  • September 1, 2016

    We have stopped accepting the applications.

  • July 15, 2016

    Application form opened.

  • June 13, 2016

    This website was launched.


Addressing societal problems on the theme of


Our objective is to resolve societal problems in the area of wellness, both in Japan and around the world, using innovative technologies and business models to contribute to the development of active, healthy lives and sustainable social systems.

The concept of "wellness"

In 1961, Dr. Halbert Dunn, a public health physician, advocated "wellness" as a new concept beyond the former understanding of "health." The Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity," but Dunn proposed the concept of "wellness" as a vibrant, thriving life that goes one step beyond this state of "complete well-being."

The Innovation Network for Co-Creating the Future perceives the area of wellness as covering all of the following scope, including health care. However, medical care activities*1 are specifically excluded from this Business Idea Competition.
*1 Activities related to medical diagnosis, treatment, drug development, or pharmaceuticals

We welcome ideas that use innovative technologies (AI, IoT, robotics, and other advanced information and communication technologies) and innovative business models.


At the Innovation Network for Co-Creating the Future, we believe that the following three changes will have a significant impact in resolving societal problems in the area of wellness.

  • Everyone should know their own disease risks and take steps for prevention.
  • Physical and cognitive functions in decline due to aging or disabilities should be supplemented and strengthened.
  • Medical and nursing care resources should be used efficiently.

Innovations for individual disease prevention and health management


  • Many persons are suffering from avoidable diseases caused by unhealthy living habits, a major factor in the rising costs of medical care.
  • The costs of medical treatment for lifestyle related diseases in Japan are approximately 10 trillion yen at present, and this figure is expected to rise to 19 trillion yen by 2025.


  • Everyone should know their own disease risks and take steps for prevention.

Key words

  • Innovations in health monitoring
  • Innovations in early detection of mental illnesses
  • Innovations in food products for specific needs
  • Innovations in personalized health management methods
  • Innovations in preventive medicine using genetics
  • Innovations in health care education


Innovations to supplement and strengthen functioning among the elderly and disabled


  • Physical and cognitive declines due to aging can lead to decreased levels of autonomy. At present, 80% of 73-year-olds are independent, but by the age of 80, only 10% are still independent.
  • The costs paid by nursing care insurance in Japan are 8.4 trillion yen at present, and this figure is expected to rise to approximately 20 trillion yen by 2025.


  • Even with physical and cognitive declines due to aging, 80% of 80-year-olds should be able to remain independent and lead lives with the same quality of life as 60-year-olds.
  • Physical and cognitive declines in persons with disabilities should be compensated so that they can maintain a high quality of life.

Key words

  • Innovations in compensating for declines in cognitive functioning
  • Innovations in compensating for declines in physical functioning (getting around and mobility)
  • Innovations in enjoyment of vibrant lives, in addition to compensating for decreases in communication and social activities due to physical and cognitive declines


Innovations to close gaps between supply and demand in medical and nursing care


  • The costs of medical care in developed countries are very high, on the order of 10% of GDP, and tend to rise as the population becomes increasingly elderly (55 trillion yen in Japan in 2014, expected to rise to 74 trillion yen by 2025).
  • As the elderly population grows, demand has risen for medical and nursing care workers and facilities; but the quantities of workers, facilities, and funds are limited, and the question of how to close the gap between supply and demand has become a major challenge.


  • Ways to meet increasing demand should be developed by improving efficiency and productivity while maintaining the quality of care with limited resources (people, facilities, and funds).


  • Innovations for medical and nursing care workers
  • Innovations in facilities, equipment, and devices
  • Innovations in local medical and nursing care systems
  • Innovations in private medical and nursing care insurance


Eligible stages of ideas

You may submit an idea in either of the following stages.

Ideas using open innovation

This refers to innovative ideas for solving problems, prior to any specific product or software, etc. Realization of such ideas would be based on open innovation. Mitsubishi Research Institute can provide support to connect these ideas with companies that have the necessary resources (technologies, products, networks, sales networks, etc.).

Ideas with prototype products, services, or software

This refers to ideas for solving problems using applicable products or software that a company already possesses. The idea does not need to consist only of the company's own products and software. If any additional resources are lacking, ideas with combinations of other resources can also be proposed after the need is clarified.

Benefits for Competition participants

Mentoring by MRI scientists with expert knowledge

Our team of mentors, consisting of experts in fields such as wellness and business strategy, will provide support for enhancing business models, improving presentation skills, and starting up actual businesses.

Cash award and supplementary awards

Cash award:
1 million yen + (or optionally) supplementary awards
Examples of supplementary awards:
Support from Mitsubishi Research Institute for business development (applying for permits and licenses, conducting proving tests, etc.)
Participation in prominent venture support programs (under consideration)

Screening process

Competition procedures and criteria for participants

Primary screening(document review)

The business plans, participants' strong points, and other information in each application form will be comprehensively evaluated, including the extent to which it addresses societal problems, the level of impact, benefits to users, business potential, and feasibility.

Secondary screening(presentations)

In addition to perspectives from the primary screening, presentations will be comprehensively evaluated, including the passion demonstrated by participants for addressing societal problems and pursuing their business plan.

Mentoring(one month)

Mentoring sessions will be held by MRI scientists. Our team of mentors, consisting of experts in fields such as wellness and business strategy, will provide support for enhancing business models and improving presentation skills.

Final screening(pitch Competition)

Participants who pass the secondary screening will give presentations in the form of a pitch Competition before a panel that will include experts and business development officers of companies.


  • June 13

    The website is launched.

  • June 27

    The application guidelines are announced, and acceptance of applications for primary screening (document review) commences. (Note: Explanatory briefings will be held prior to the application deadline.)

  • August 31

    Deadline for applications for primary screening (document review).

  • Mid-September

    Notification of the results of primary screening (document review).
    Participants who passed the primary screening (document review) will prepare their presentations for the secondary screening (presentations).

  • Late October

    Secondary screening (presentations).

  • November

    Notification of the results of secondary screening (presentations).

  • November

    Mentoring is provided (one month).

  • Early December

    Final screening (pitch Competition) is held.

Competition requirements

Eligible participants

Individuals and venture companies having less than 100 million yen or 1 million USD in capital, etc. (capital, capital reserves, and capital surplus), and having a goal of addressing societal problems within the scope defined by Mitsubishi Research Institute through business means.

Eligible ideas

Ideas and business models on the use of business to address societal problems within the scope of this program. Applications may be submitted in either of the following cases.

  • Ideas that promise innovative solutions, although the product or service has not yet been developed
  • Solutions using services that have already been launched or products in the prototype stage

Supporters and supporting companies

Supporters of the Innovation Network for Co-Creating the Future

Hiroshi Komiyama

Hiroshi Komiyama Chairman, Mitsubishi Research Institute

We are approaching a turning point in human history. As mankind faces a wide range of issues from hunger to obesity, it is no longer feasible to solve problems using models of the 20th century based on finite quantities. Knowledge-based solutions are needed in order to build a sustainable society, and there must be innovators as well as innovation platforms to support them. My hope is that the Innovation Network for Co-Creating the Future will provide a key to successful creation of new economic and social value. I would like to invite you to join us in working to co-create the future.

(In alphabetical order; honorifics omitted)

  • Joichi Ito

    Joichi Ito

    Director, MIT Media Lab

  • Masa Inakage

    Masa Inakage

    Dean and Professor, Keio University Graduate School of Media Design

  • Shigeo Kagami

    Shigeo Kagami

    Professor, Division of University Corporate Relations, University of Tokyo

  • Ulrike Schaede

    Tomy Kamada

    CEO and Founder of TomyK Ltd.

  • Ulrike Schaede

    Ulrike Schaede

    Professor of Japanese Business, UC San Diego

  • Radhika Shah

    Radhika Shah

    Co-President, Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs / Advisor, SDG Philanthropy Platform

  • Yasuo Sugiyama

    Yasuo Sugiyama

    Professor, Graduate School of Management, Kyoto University

  • Richard Dasher

    Richard Dasher

    Director, US-Asia Technology Management Center, Stanford University

  • Hiro Nishiguchi

    Hiro Nishiguchi

    Executive Managing Director, Japan Innovation Network

  • Haruo Miyagi

    Haruo Miyagi

    Founder and CEO, ETIC.

  • Hiroshi Menjo

    Hiroshi Menjo

    Managing Partner, Net Service Ventures Group

Note:We plan to add more Supporters from the private sector to play important roles in promoting solutions for problems, and we will continue to add and post information about the network from time to time.

Supporting companies

Note:Please contact us if your company or organization is interested in becoming a supporter.


Eligible areas of business for the program

Are nonprofit organizations included?

No, the program does not include nonprofit organizations.

Can we apply if our service has already been launched (open for business)?

Yes. You can also apply if you have an existing business and you want to use the technology on which your business is based to expand into the area of wellness for the first time.

Can we apply for multiple business plans?

Yes. However, only one business plan per company will be selected.

Intellectual property rights

Who will own the intellectual property rights?

Intellectual property rights for business plans and products developed during the business plan Competition period will belong to the participants.


How many companies will be selected through the screenings?

We expect that five to seven companies will participate in the final screening (pitch Competition).

Will you pay any travel expenses or development costs, etc. during the Competition period?

Management will pay travel expenses for persons who travel from distant locations to participate in the final screening (pitch Competition).

Can individuals apply?