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Innovation Salon 2017: "Heading Cross-town or Going to Mars – Designing for the future of Mobility"

December 7, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Free – $25

Venue: Institute for Creative Integration, 215 Washington Street, Oakland


When the best of Japanese creativity and American entrepreneurial skill join forces, unimagined business opportunities occur.

The Bay Area, Japan and Asia are leading the way in re-imagining the future of mobility. Professional designers are being tapped to work on all kinds of mobility solutions, including autonomous and electric vehicles, new forms of mass transport, robotics and drones, AI and even interplanetary travel. Designers who work with mobility not only focus on aesthetics and function, but also must understand how culture, environment and history impacts people’s needs, expectations, hopes and dreams. Thus we are seeing new demands on designers to apply the tools of social science, economics, anthropology and physics to understand and address the growing challenges of moving people from one place to another in a globalized world. Please come to hear three experienced guest-speakers share their experiences in designing the future of mobility in a cross-cultural context between the US and Japan.


Shin Sano, Founder and CEO of Institute for Creative Integration (ICI)

ICI is a design research and strategy firm specialized in mobility. With his experience as a designer over a period of two decades, Shin Sano is passionate about guiding clients to have different perspectives that triggers innovation. ICI’s most recent work includes the user experience strategy on Toyota’s Concept-i愛, which was unveiled to the public at CES 2017 and Tokyo Motor Show 2017.

Prior to establish his own firm, Sano was an Assistant Research Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design (IIT) in Chicago where he researched and taught human-centered design methods specially in the area of product design, product system concept development and user research. Before joining IIT Sano was an automotive designer and design strategist at Toyota’s Design Center both in Japan and the U.S. for fifteen years. He holds a Master of Design Methods from IIT and Bachelor of Arts from Musashino Art University in Tokyo. He has been based in the U.S. since 2002 and has lived in New York City, Chicago and in the Bay Area with his wife Yumiko and three sons.

Rebecca Currano, Researcher, Center for Design Research, Stanford University

Rebecca investigates interactions between pedestrians and autonomous vehicles, and between drivers of manual cars and autonomous cars. Her research is imbued with a focus on culture, examining differences in trust, perception, and behavior manifested during interactions in different geographical and cultural regions, such as different countries and cities of different sizes within a country.

Rebecca also has a strong background in research on reflective practice in design, and internal and external factors influencing creativity and ideation. Her thesis research explored designers’ activities, thoughts and emotions, as well as social and environmental factors, which influence and accompany moments of insight in developing novel ideas. Rebecca received her Masters and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and her Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland.

Aki Omi, Founder and Creative Director, office ma

Born in Nara, Japan, Aki moved to the US in 1989. In 2013, he founded office ma in San Francisco, and as Creative Director of the firm, he leads a studio practicing at the juncture of landscape, urban design, master planning, development strategy, and sustainability planning. Current projects include Mitsui Headquarters, China Resources Headquarters, TP Link Headquarters, TP Link R&D Center, China and Merchant Mixed Use Development.

Aki’s representative works include Tokyo Midtown, One Shenzhen Bay, Shenzhen One City, New York World Trade Center Public Realm, Los Angeles Waterfront Promenade, Wenzhou Lucheng Plaza, Bonifacio Global City Superblock (Philippines), and Cincinnati University Main Street. Aki received his BS in Landscape Architecture from Ohio State University and an MLA from Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has worked at Hargreaves Associates, EDAW and AECOM and was a founding partner at StoSS Landscape Urbanism. 



  • 6:00 PM – 6:45 PM Networking & Registration
  • 6:45 PM – 8:00 PM Presentation with audience Q&A
  • 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM Networking & Reception

Light appetizers and drinks provided.

Purchase Tickets:


  • No refunds after Thursday, November 30.
  • Online registration closes at 12:00 PM on Thursday, December 7.
  • Walk-Ins accepted at $25.00 per guest.

Japan Society of Northern California’s Innovation Salon 2017, in cooperation with:


The event venue has been provided with generous support from:

Institute for Creative Integration

Parking & Transportation:
BART: 12th Street Oakland City Center 11 min. walk or take free shuttle runs on Broadway
Ferry: To Oakland from SF Ferry terminal
Parking: Garage on Washington between 2nd street and Embarcadero

Additional Support provided by the 2015 Innovation Award Symposium Sponsors:

MUFG Union Bank

United Airlines


Pasona N A




BNY Mellon Wealth Management

Martingale Asset Management

Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)

NTT Data



December 7, 2017
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Free – $25


(415) 986-4383
View Organizer Website


Institute for Creative Integration
215 Washington Street
Oakland , CA 94607 United States
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