Our Managing Director moved from Berlin to Tokyo to start “Goodpatch Global Venture Design”

[this blog was originally posted in Japanese on our Goodpatch Tokyo website — view the original here]

Goodpatch has launched its new venture builder service to further extend the power of design in 2022. Global Venture Design combines the business goals and corporate philosophies of partners (clients) with SDG-conscious ideas. The support from Goodpatch involves formulating new business ideas and launching them, enabling them to enter the market within 12 months.

After successful pilot projects in Europe the firm now also helps Japanese companies to not only design great products but to essentially build successful new digital businesses globally. In this issue we have an interview with Boris, the director and executive officer of Goodpatch who is responsible for this new offering and who relocated from Berlin to Tokyo to roll this out with Japanese clients. We learn what is behind Boris’ determination to return to Tokyo after seven years.

Boris, you were involved in global business support for seven years after working at Goodpatch Tokyo and moving to Berlin. Please tell us the reason why you decided to come back to Tokyo this time.

Goodpatch was the first Japanese company I helped to succeed globally. Now we have a great team in Europe doing highly profitable work for major companies such as Mercedes-Benz, HERE and others. We have achieved the IPO, which again provides other opportunities for growth in other markets. Now I want to help our client partners to also succeed in their globalization and digitization efforts. This is close to my personal purpose and I get to combine my expertise with what is actually needed. This puts me personally into a state of flow, which is fantastic.  

Tsuchiya-san and I are both strong believers in a highly diverse team. He calls it “a multi-cultural” army. In Berlin we have such a team, and it is highly productive and profitable. Now we are building up such a team again in the Tokyo HQ. 

What is Corporate Venture Building (CVB) in the first place?

CVB is one of the most effective ways a company can manage its innovation efforts. CVB means that a group or parent company builds up an independent company in the manner of a start-up, whose business model can be fundamentally different from that of the group - at the same time, it can leverage certain assets of the parent - e.g. distribution channels, brand perception, and intellectual property.

Unlike Corporate Venture Capital (CVC), CVBs are about building companies directly, often with the hands-on support of an external partner (e.g. Goodpatch). The parent corporation generally retains a majority equity stake, enabling long term control. The CVB model is ideal for making a parent company fit for digital transformation and global challenges thanks to the innovative power and executional speed of the spin-off. It is still an emerging method for corporate innovation, currently centralized in the US and EU. 


Can you give us some examples from Europe?

In Europe we had Rocket Internet early on, showing how effective and fast ventures can be built in a very systematic way. As a result this inspired many other companies to follow suit and tried to do the same thing within their capabilities. The Rocket approach was much more corporate, structured and therefore suitable to that risk-averse European corporate culture then the way how Silicon Valley was building startups at that time. We saw other company builders evolve and they formed partnerships with Corporates.

CVB model is indispensable for Japanese companies to compete in the world. What is the movement of CVB in Japan?

In Japan, the term "corporate venture building" is not well established, but I think that businesses called "startup studios" and "new business development" have almost the same meaning. Corporate Venture Building as a term is not very established here, but that doesn't mean it is not happening already. 

The main difference I do see is the reluctance of building a new venture with a global ambition. This is also something where many companies in Germany were inspired by Rocket. They went global from day one. Japanese firms would always say “Let’s focus on the Japanese market first”, but they would never get to the point where they actually succeed in an oversea’s market.

Source: https://www.jmncsolutions.com/post/are_japans_largest_companies_shrinking

Why is CVB important for Japanese companies now?

Japanese companies are currently losing global competitiveness. In 1995, we had 150 Japanese companies among the biggest 500 companies in the world. The Global Fortune 500 list today features less than 50 Japanese companies. That is because they struggle to compete on 2 fronts: Globalization and Digitization. There will be limitations to what the companies can achieve in the shrinking local Japanese market. As all of these companies are stock-listed and the expectations from shareholders will only increase in the future to enter new markets and build up digital readiness. 

I see a huge opportunity for the companies we work with. The urgency is there, but the COVID situation didn't help when it came to driving global expansion. Companies put global expansion further back again on their list of priorities. I never heard of a German internet company saying "We will only gather the German market". With the quality work I got to know from Japanese companies I want to see them succeed on the global stage. Where are the new generation of the Sonys, Panasonics and Toyotas - the internet version of those Japanese global giants? That is all a blast from the past.

There is much to learn from each other. The quality of work, dedication and level of customer centricity I've seen from Japanese firms is unmatched.

What value do you want to provide to the world through global venture design?

Goodpatch's mission is to "prove the power of design." I don't think there is a better place to prove the power of design than the CVB model . It's more than just expanding Goodpatch's service portfolio.

All of the "design power" that has supported Goodpatch's growth and led its partners to success is integrated into Goodpatch Global Venture Design. From user research to storyboards, wireframes, and UX / UI design, Goodpatch's strengths are key to realizing new ventures .

Since its inception, Goodpatch has created and provided sustainable value for people, organizations and the planet. Therefore, "Goodpatch Global Venture Design" attaches great importance to the perspective of sustainability in addition to the business outlook and corporate values . For example, it is said that more than 80% of the environmental load related to a product is determined at the product design stage (Source: European Commission ).

We provide brands with a platform and teams that help detach from existing business models and corporate restraints. We are human-centered and design driven first, helping break through bias, fear and uncertainty often holding back innovation. We help clients bring their ventures to life with cutting-edge designs and prototypes, facilitating decision making and accelerating the venture building process.

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Written by

Boris Jitsukata


Boris Jitsukata







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