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Hidden Innovation – How Japanese Companies Can Innovate And Expand into new markets with their Internal technology

May 9, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:10 pm

Innovation Salon Event

Many Japanese companies come to Silicon Valley with the hope that they will identify great new technologies that can drive innovation in their organizations. This can be a difficult and highly competitive path. Innovation expert Robert Pearlstein believes that these companies often ignore an equally lucrative and often easier path to innovation – one that derives from effectively mining and refocusing their own, internally developed intellectual property.

In this program, Pearlstein will share his insights about how Japanese companies can identify lucrative new opportunities to commercialize existing technology and drive disruptive innovation – without having to compete directly with Silicon Valley VCs for the latest venture deals. Pearlstein will use real-life examples from his work, including stories about the SIRI and wall climbing robots, to show how companies can find new opportunities for innovation around existing technology by following a 4-step process:

  1. Identify critical market needs that can be addressed by internally developed technology
  2. Determine a compelling approach to the customer
  3. Clearly demonstrate the benefits of the product relative to costs,
  4. Show how the product is better than the competition

The presentation will be followed by a discussion and Q&A.


Date and Time:

U.S.: Monday, May 9, 2022 @ 4:00 – 5:10 PM (Pacific Time)
Japan: Tuesday, May 10, 2022 @ 8:00 – 9:10 AM  (Japan Time)




Agenda (Pacific Time):

4:00-4:05 PM         Opening Remarks, Steve Pollock | Founder & CEO, Turnstone Ventures
4:05-4:25 PM          Robert Pearlstein | President & CEO, Qanopy
4:25-4:45 PM          Panel Discussion
4:45-5:05 PM          Q&A Session
5:05-5:10 PM          Closing Remarks, Takahide Akiyama | President, Japan Society of Northern California



Robert Pearlstein | President & CEO, Qanopy_

Robert Pearlstein is the President and CEO of Qanopy. Qanopy is a Silicon Valley based business development firm focusing on bringing deep technology to market. Robert has more than 30 years of experience assisting Global 2000 companies in successfully commercializing their R&D and emerging technologies. Before starting Qanopy, Robert served as Vice President, Business Development for SRI (Stanford Research Institute) where he directed commercialization, new venture creation, and market expansion. More recently, as President of Qanopy Group, Robert has worked with Xerox PARC, Sony, Honda, on technology driven innovation strategies and business incubation. He holds an MBA and successfully completed the Executive Management Program at Stanford. He is the author of “Built For Global”, a step-by-step guide on taking advanced technology to the global market. He is a coveted speaker on innovation and expansion – participating as an international keynote on topics including artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and new materials.




Steve Pollock | Member of the Board, Japan Society of Northern California, and Founder, Turnstone Ventures

Steve Pollock is the founder and president of Turnstone Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based consulting firm that advises companies on cross-border business strategy and market entry. Steve started his career with Mitsubishi Corporation and co-founded and served as president of a venture-backed software and services company in the recruiting industry. He has served as a senior executive and advisor to venture-backed firms in software, Internet and technology industries. Steve has a passion for cross-cultural business and has helped numerous organizations launch and grow innovative new product and service businesses. Steve serves on the board of the Japan Society of Northern California and is a member of the Steering Committee for its annual Innovation Awards. He co-teaches a course on entrepreneurship at Waseda University. He has a BA in East Asian studies from Harvard, an MBA from Stanford, and has lived and worked in Japan for more than four years.



Satoru Watanabe Photo

Satoru Watanabe | CEO, MAXIMIZE, Inc.; Chief Representative, Japan Society of Northern California- Japan Office; Part-time lecturer, Waseda University

Satoru Watanabe is the chief representative for the Japan Society of Northern California’s Japan office. He is an innovation consultant and experienced entrepreneur. He has translated leading international innovation methodology books including Customer Development by Steve Blank, The Business Model Navigator, The Corporate startup, and The Digital Transformer’s Dilemma. Satoru is the CEO and founder of Maximize, Inc, an international IT consulting firm, and has more than 20 years of experience assisting international software companies with their market entry and growth in Japan. Satoru started his career with Mitsubishi Corporation, where he was part of overseas software master licensing business.  Prior to founding Maximize, he was senior analyst at Trans Cosmos USA, Inc in Silicon Valley, where he sourced and evaluated early-stage IT companies and solutions for investment. Satoru holds a Master’s Degree from Yale University and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Tokyo.



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JETRO is a promotional partner for this program


May 9, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:10 pm
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